Settings Adds Dimension


This month in our WordsmithSix blogs, we will be writing on the topic of settings.

Settings Adds Dimension

Rory C. Keel

The setting most often is thought of as only the backdrop to a story. However, many times, the surrounding landscape, or a single small item that is touched or seen may be a pivotal point of change for your character.

History and culture are essential in the setting. Whether your story is placed in ancient history or in more recent times, your characters will have an extra dimension that allows them to come alive to the reader as they interact with the culture of the time. Even future or fantasy genres have a culture and history. History and culture help define who your characters are.

Climate and geography play a big part in the setting of a story. Is it winter or summer? Are your characters in a forest or relaxing on a sandy beach?  The climate may determine how your character will dress. Geography will dictate a person’s activities and how they might react to challenges. Running from a bear, or being stung by a jellyfish while swimming, may even change a plot’s direction.

The setting of a story includes the “When” and “Where” of a story. It brings depth to your characters and fills your story with richness.

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A RECAP OF POV


A RECAP OF POV

Natalie Bright

First Person Point Of View: the “I” narrator.

First Person Peripheral: a narrator is a supporting character in the story, not the main character.

Second Person Point Of View: generally used in instructional writing.

Third Person Point Of View: used when your narrator is not a character in the story.

  • Third Person Limited: limited to only one character.
  • Third Person Multiple: This type is still in the “he/she/it” category, but now the narrator can follow multiple characters in the story.
  • Third Person Omniscient: the narrator knows EVERYTHING. The narrator isn’t limited by what one character knows.

Thanks for joining us this month as we looked at Point of View. In October, we will be blogging about story Setting.

Writing is your journey, so go write!

A Storyteller’s Point of View


Outtakes 399

A Storyteller’s Point of View

By Cait Collins

 

I love listening to men and women who know how to tell a story.  As difficult as writing a good story is, speaking off the top of the head, is beyond my comprehension.  I listened to Jeff Campbell tell the story of the Sand Creek Massacre.  He began by telling the point of view of the military leaders who hated the Indian tribes.  Their hate grew until they decided to take out a meeting of the leaders of the Indian nations and government officials.  In the early hours of the morning, US cavalry invaded land around Sand Creek.’

And then the scene changes.  The tribesmen awakened from sleep are confused.  They hear the gunfire and gather around the flag pole where a flag of truce flies.  The soldiers surround them.  And then…

Jeff has a masterful way of moving from one point of view to another.  The change is so seamless there is no hiccup in the story.  Every point of view brings out the emotions, fears, and confusion of the parties as they are attacked and killed.  Every bit of hate and disdain from the soldiers is evident as they pull the triggers.  And what about the shocked silence of the soldiers who disagreed with the renegade military?  Yes, you could feel their disbelief as men, women, and children fall.  And the story is so masterful; you hear, see and feel the events as they unfold.  You can even smell the gun powder in the air.

That ability is truly moving and exciting.  It makes me wish I could write the way Jeff talks.

Point of View: Omniscient


Point of View: Omniscient

“The coffee-room had no other occupant, that forenoon, than the gentleman in brown. His breakfast-table was drawn before the fire, and as he sat, with its light shining on him, waiting for the meal, he sat so still, that he might have been sitting for his portrait.

… He wore an odd little sleek crisp flaxen wig, setting very close to his head: which wig, it is to be presumed, was made of hair, but which looked far more as though it were spun from filaments of silk or glass. His linen, though not of a fineness in accordance with his stockings, was as white as the tops of the waves that broke upon the neighboring beach, or the specks of sail that glinted in the sunlight far at sea.”

The exert above, from A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens, 1946) is an example of storytelling in an omniscient viewpoint.

Omniscient Defined – There is no identifiable character observing the scene above and relaying the information. Instead, a narrator, who is not identified, tells the tale.

THIRD VIEW


THIRD VIEW

Lynnette Jalufka

 

Lady Theresa clenched her fists at her cousin Elyse’s call. All she wanted to do was enjoy the tournament, to see the horses charge towards each other, to hear the crack of lance upon shield. Instead, Elyse has decided to turn their outing into a husband-seeking mission.

If that wasn’t enough, Lynnette has put her into third person limited point of view. That’s not as intimate as the first person point of view Elyse illustrated, though the same rules apply: the reader can only know what she is thinking.

Theresa thanked the squire that showed her Sir Edwin’s horse as Elyse came down the path with another suitor.

“There you are, Theresa,” her cousin smiled brightly. “I want you to meet Sir Reynald.”

He bowed with a flourish of his hand. “At your service, my lady.”

“Good day, Sir Reynald,” Theresa said. He looked more like a peacock than a knight ready to joust. Feathers cascaded from his helmet, and his armor and surcoat were too clean to have seen regular use. Where was his horse? A knight is nothing without one.

“If it pleases my lady to bestow me a favor, I will wear it proudly during the tournament,” Reynald grinned.

He’d be lucky to survive the first round. “I’m sorry, Sir Knight, but it might get tangled in your feathers. I wouldn’t want anything to hinder your prowess. You’ll need every bit of it.”

“Theresa,” Elyse hissed.

Reynald turned red. “Then I bid you good day, my lady.” With a quick, stiff bow, he strode back down the pathway.

“Theresa, how could you insult him like that?” Elyse asked.

“Dearest Elyse, if I had a lance, I could knock him off his horse myself.”

 

 

Popular Novels and Their POV


Popular Novels and Their POV

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week, I just wanted to provide a short list of popular novels and what point of view (POV) they are written in.  If you’ve never read a story in a particular POV and would like a starting point, you could do a lot worse than these tales.

First-Person

  • The Hunger Games Series
  • The Twilight Series
  • The Divergent Series
  • Gone Girl
  • The Percy Jackson Series
  • Paper Towns
  • The Catcher in the Rye

Second-Person

  • Choose Your Own Adventure books
  • Bright Lights, Big City
  • You
  • A Prayer of the Dying

Third-Person

  • The Lord of the Rings Series
  • The Harry Potter Series
  • A Game of Thrones Series
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Brave New World

Whose Scene Is It?


Outtakes 398

Whose Scene Is It?

By Cait Collins

 

 

When writing a screenplay, I have to determine whose scene I’m writing.  Let’s say a couple is having an argument.  Who initiated the fight?  If the woman started things, she would become my dominate character and would control the scene.  She initiates the action and the dialogue.  His responses and actions play off her accusations and domineering attitude.

Once the male character takes over the storyline, the point of view changes. The man initiates the dialogue and the action.  He may take the scene by slapping the female character, grabbing her, or by turning the dialogue against her.  Now he is in control and the other character follows his lead until the scene changes again.

Point of view changes constantly in movies, in novels and short stories. It’s the action that keeps the story moving.  The he said/she said third person POV is, in my opinion, easier to write.

First person point of view allows the hero or heroine to tell the story.  Some stories are better told from this point of view.  Coming of age themes or man against himself are examples of first person POV.

I have not attempted Omniscient POV.  Maybe that is because I tend to enjoy playing my characters off each other. It’s the kind of situation I feel most comfortable creating.

CONSIDER FIRST PERSON POV


CONSIDER FIRST PERSON POV

Natalie Bright

My story about rescue horses did not come alive until I wrote it in first person point of view from the perspective of my main character, a rescue horse named Flash. This same story was written as a chapter book, a picture book, and an easy reader. Finally, Flash tells his own story and it works!

  

CHAPTER 1

The Worst Day of My Life

 

Everybody calls me Flash. That is not my real name.

At birth, I was given the name Snake Creek Rooster. I am a registered Tennessee Walker, which means that I come from fancy bloodlines.

My instincts are natural to me because of my parents.

From the Tennessee Walker lineage, I have a long, straight head. I am strong and agile, and I like people. I am loyal and kind.

The spots on my legs and chest are an important part of me too. Because of my coloring, I am recognized with a spotted saddle horse registry. I am double-registered.

I lived in a pen and had a wonderful family. My life was simple and uneventful.

One day my entire world changed.

My family had to move. They could not take me with them. There was no place for me in their new home.

What would become of me?

Where would I go?

I had never been alone before.

 

 

Writing is your journey, so go write!

FIRST VIEW


FIRST VIEW

Lynnette Jalufka

Good day, fair readers. I am the Lady Elyse, who you met last week. Lynnette has graciously allowed me to illustrate first person point of view while I am at this tournament in search of a husband for my cousin, Theresa. First person is point of view’s most intimate form. You learn everything I am thinking and feeling. All my motivations are exposed.

The disadvantage is that you only know my viewpoint and no one else’s. I can guess what someone is thinking by their expressions and actions, but alas, it is just a guess.

“Sir Reynald,” I hail the knight standing by a tent.

He flashes a warm smile and strides over to me. Here is his opportunity to marry a noblewoman and increase his land.

Wait, I was not thinking that. That is not my point of view. I thought he would be a good match for Theresa. Besides, he is too noble to marry for wealth. But if he is thinking that…

“At your service, Lady Elyse.” He bows in front of me.

I clear my throat. “I had wanted you to meet my cousin, but it seems she has disappeared.”

“Don’t worry, my lady. I shall help you find her.”

He offers me his arm and I take it. “We should look by the horses,” I say as we journey into the crowd.

Dear readers, be careful when writing in first person. Remember, you can only write what I know and feel.

Point of View


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Point of View

By Nandy Ekle

Point of view. The eyes your reader sees the story happen through. I always think of it, like, a video game back in the 90s. Watching my kids play these games and the giant camera sits on the head of the character the player is following. So everything that happens is through that character.

So you have your main character and that can be your point of view (POV). It can be first person through their mouth, or it can be third person, through their brain. And you can have each chapter be a different character’s point of view. Or you can have what’s called omniscient point of view, where the reader is privy to all thoughts of all characters.

And these days there’s a new term called deep point of view. This method is only in the main character’s point of view and voice. There are rules that go with this POV, and I’m not sure I even know them all. I haven’t put a lot of research into it. 

My opinion is this point of view is very tricky to accomplish. I’ve read several books using this method and, frankly, I get tired of it in a hurry. However, I’ve read a couple of books where this was used in such a way that the story was actually so engrossing that I couldn’t put the book down. The book You, by Caroline Kepnes is a perfect example of how to use this POV effectively. The story is definitely a psychological thriller. And the building of the plot is so subtle that when I realized what was happening, my breath was knocked completely out of my body. 

So, study the different types of POV and decide which one works best for your story. Then play it for all it’s worth.