Monday Mental Muscles | My story, your story, her story, the story…

Today on #storycraft – on twitter – we discussed POV or Points of View in a story. What is most common? What is most challenging? What works? What doesn’t work? Single or multiple? 

POV in a story is unavoidable. In fact POV is unavoidable in most areas of our daily life. Depending on who is telling the story will guide the listener’s or reader’s perspective and judgement. Just by using a different point of view in a story can change the whole direction of the story. POV is power. But like all bases of power, if used correctly it will aid the story and better the story, if used incorrectly it will bring ruin.

BBC Mug of the Day 3 - Points of View
Image by Bods via Flickr

 Breaking it down we have the two most common points of view in a story:

  • First (1st) Person
  • Third (3rd) Person

What is the difference between these two POVs in simple terms? 

First person is telling the story from a character’s point of view using the pronouns “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine”. This POV brings depth to your story because as your character is telling it, the reader sees, hears, touches,tastes and feels the same things that the character does. They are literally walking in your character’s shoes. This is very useful to a writer because immediately it brings sympathy andy empathy into the relationship between the story and the reader. The reader starts “pulling” for the character to succeed. The cons are that it can be limiting as you can only tell the story through one set of eyes and one perspective.

Third person is the most common and most preferred POV in writing. Third person is the writer using a narrator or character to tell the story the way they see it unfold. You will see that the pronouns used here are “her”, “his”, “their”, “she”, “he” or “them”. Though the story is told from more of a distance, than with 1st Person, you can show all the elements and characters of the scene. Third Person is like focusing through the lens and view-finder of a camera and then taking a picture. 

Then there is a third POV called Second (2nd) Person. This is the writer telling the story directly to the reader, either using themselves as the narrator or using a character as the narrator. The pronouns used here are “you” and “your”. This is the least used POV out of the three. It is one that is very difficult to get right without “lecturing” the reader. 

There is no correct POV to use for any story although for certain genres there are preferred suggestions on POV. Ultimately choosing the POV depends on the writer and the type of story they are telling. Then it brings us to whether you should have a single POV or multiple POVs in a story. Again this depends on how you as the writer want to tell your story. The golden rule in all instances though is: 

Don’t confuse the reader.

If you are going to attempt multiple POVs it is better to keep very distinctive voices for each different POV. Multiple POVs or switching POVs in a story can work very well. They work especially well if the story has more than one tense flowing through it. You can keep the tenses separate and distinct by choosing a different POV for each different tense. Another effective use for switching POVs is if you have characters of different genders telling the story. Again though, you would have to be true to that character’s voice. 

Summing up from the chat we had today on #storycraft:

Summing up: 3rd is preferred method but 1st is effective for YA and for immediacy as well as getting into character’s head..Important to have a distinct Voice for each POV if switching POV in story. Keep in mind, don’t confuse the reader…When switching genders for different POVs…keep true to gender. Betas of different genders come in handy then.

This brings me to the Mental Muscles for this Monday:

Today I want you to write a scene. It can be any scene. Pick 1 POV. Then put it aside and rewrite the scene in a different POV. Then lastly put that aside and rewrite the scene in multiple POVs. 

If you want a further challenge, rewrite using different tenses. 

If you have never written in 1st Person for instance, this will give you a feel for it. Remember every day we need to be flexing those mental muscles of ours. As writers we need that mental muscle – the brain – to be fit, healthy and flexible. So start flexing those muscles. 

If you want to read more of the #storycraft chat I mentioned at the beginning of the post: just click on the first #storycraft and it will take you to the chat transcript.

Join the conversation: What is your preferred POV as a writer then as a reader? Why?

Detox with The Mad Hatter

John Tenniel- Alice's mad tea party, colour
Image via Wikipedia

Do you ever feel that there is too much demanding your attention? Do you ever wish you could pause and rewind? Do you ever wish you could mute the world? Sometimes your brain can go into overdrive from being over stimulated. This last week felt like that for me. I wanted to power off the time switch and freeze time for just a moment to be able to catch my breath. I had a migraine for over a week that would not disappear and left me in pain and feeling grumpy and frustrated. The migraine was my fault and the fault of modern technology.

You see I was simply doing too much and my mind was overheating which caused the migraine attack. So left with no other choice, I decided to take a day and night off from everything and everyone. I turned off the Macbook which meant that I killed a few birds with one close of my Macbook: Facebook, Twitter, WIP, Blog. I switched off my mobile phone. I did not have music or television playing in the background. Then I holed up with my long overdue books needing to be read. I read in the quiet. Wouldn’t you know? My week-long migraine attack is gone.

Yes I must admit there was a small part of me that felt guilty, ok a large part, and I kept on catching my closed Macbook in my eye line. I could hear the chatter on Facebook and Twitter calling, then there was this blog aching to be updated with a new post. Not to mention my WIP was aching to be molly-coddled. But I resisted. This was the best mental detox for me.

In this world of technology it has become very difficult to just switch off to rest and relax. I am as guilty of this as the next person. I am also a person who tends to pile on things on my plate that just simply have to be done.

I have a little troll on my bedside table. It has a scrunched up face and bright pink punk hair. But the reason I have such a creature on my bedside table is that he is holding up a bright pink sign that says “Nobody is Perfect.”. I need to have that within close viewing distance to remind myself to go easy on myself.

Today I realised that though I am always thinking there is never enough time in a day to get things done let along compartmentalise all my me’s, work me, writer me, daughter me, sister me, friend me, critique partner me; the problem and the fault is my own. I am not the Energiser Bunny as much as I wish I were. Instead lately I have been feeling like the White Rabbit with the clock running around in Alice in Wonderland crying, “It’s late. It’s late. I’m late. I’m late.”.

So today I decided to be like The Mad Hatter, The March Hare and the dormouse and just take a chill pill, let the madness of the world continue around me without me in it for a while. The world did not stop turning, the white rabbit is still running around but for a moment I actually enjoyed a day that did not pass me by in a blur. Best of all I feel refreshed and do not have an aching head.

So your Monday Muscle is to set aside 1 whole day this week for a mental and technological detox. Sit at the table with the Mad Hatter and laugh at his silly nonsensical jokes. Ignore the late white rabbit. Do not turn on the computer. Do not turn on the TV. Do not turn on the stereo system / iPod. Turn off your mobile. Unhook the landline phone. Make an appointment with yourself. Sit outside. Take a walk. Read a book. You have a whole day to do nothing. Believe me you may be looking at this blog post now in abject horror, thinking does this silly girl not know how much I still have to do. I do know but I am saying that it will all still be there tomorrow. Give yourself one day off. Just like the body needs a detox, it is even more vital that your mind needs a detox. Healthy and Rested Mind = Healthy and Refreshed Body.

Now enjoy doing nothing and you can thank me afterwards.

– Kim

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Facebook for your Fiction

Fictional Character
Image by Silver Starre via Flickr

Facebook is everywhere. According to statistics if it was a country it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. Everyone who is everyone has a Facebook profile page. It is a way that you communicate with your friends and meet new friends and form networks or communities. It is a tool that politicians and entertainers use to connect with their fans. I even have some friends on Facebook who have pages set up for their pets.

Do you ever feel that there seems to be a block between you and your character/s? Or maybe you find that your character does not have enough of a voice in your WIP? If this is the case, I may have a solution for you. In one of my online writing groups, a fellow writer has suggested forming a group for our fictional characters to interact. This led to another member suggesting that each character should have their own name.

This has led me to creating a page for my MC in my NaNoWriMo Novel. At first I created a public page for her but realised that she would be speaking through me. She is a very forthright and a strong individual so I have now shown her how to set up her own page.

So I have created her own profile. Now at times I may still guide her in this Facebook adventure. She does not come from our time. She comes from 1862 and believes that it is 1862 now.

I have allowed her to have her own page to help her in her task. She believes that I am her guide although I hesitate to tell her I have imagined her. Actually now that I think of it, I am not sure that I imagined her at all. You see I would like to get to know her more. She can be quite reticent and stubborn and I am hoping to increase her social network as she does tend to be a bit of a loner.

So your Monday lesson is to create a Facebook page for your fictional character or even a blog. You can either create a page and be an administrator on this page. Through here you can switch identities from your actual identity to your fictional character.

Here are some instructions for creating a page for your fictional character on Facebook:

  1. Go here: Facebook Pages
  2. Choose the “Entertainment” option
  3. Then choose to set up the “Fictional Character“. This will be one of the choices in the drop down list for categories.
  4. Enter a name for your fictional character.
  5. After agreeing to Facebook terms, you will have a page set up.
  6. You can then suggest this page to any contacts you wish.
  7. Add your characters bio and personal info.
  8. You will now be the admin for this page.
  9. On the right hand side of the page, you will see an option to switch identity. This means that you could post as yourself or virtually through your character’s page.
  10. Just like any Facebook page, you can add photos, post statuses or links and start discussions.

Another way for you to create a real Facebook presence for your fictional character would be to create a brand new account under a separate email address from your own.

The advantages of giving your character their own Facebook account is enormous as a tool to get to know your character. She/He can also then have their own friends on Facebook and maybe meet up with other fictional characters.

Enjoy creating an online identity for your character. You never know, you may just find out things about your character by peeking into her virtual world. Enjoy hearing your character speak for her/himself. It may open even more avenues for your WIP.

-Kim

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.