The sun is shining here so I am trying to post this quickly so I can take the kids to the beach! Thanks for the good vibes on the submissions and the commiserations on the hang over - it lasted until Saturday evening. Boy am I getting old.
The next session at the RNA Conference was Anita Burgh 'Controlling Viewpoint'. Before I put the summary below I will qualify that this was absolutely fabulous but as it was the last session of the day i was pretty brain dead at this point!
Anita began that controlling viewpoint is critical to success and decisions made about this can make or break a novel.
Her first points were:
- it isn't always just the main character's voice that best tells the story
- who you choose will give your books its voice
- the viewpoint give the book its Tone, Feel and Heart
- it determines readers reaction - sympathy- their ultimate response to the book
- p.o.v. can change a readers perception
The above is why choosing the right p.o.v. for a story is So important.
Suitability of p.o.v. :
-. is it a logical choice
- will it cover all we need to know
- will he/she be available at key points in the story
- are the characters in with the plot
- is the person relevant to the telling of the story
- is their another character more suited
- is the character interesting enough
She said think of getting on train for a long journey - you don't want to do it with a boring person
Remember that you can only tell the story from their character - not your own.
Anita then gave the example of a traffic accident;
1. the person hit
2. the driver
3. the witness
The main character doesn't have to be the main p.o.v. but usually is. Each of the above would tell a different story - which one is more interesting and which moves the plot and which is most important to the story.
Other points :
1. Keep to the chosen p.o.v.
2. She hates switching p.o.v. in the same scene
3. hates switching p.o.v. half way through the novel - its fine if it switches the whole way through
4. wrong voice; the inability of the writer to understand it should be the characters view and not the writers
Keeping risk of telling not showing if you are consistent.
Anita then went on to discuss the p.o.v - ie. first, omniscient, and third but i won't recap that here it is readily available else where.
Her ending was to show us how she charts the p.o.v. in her novels with a coloured chart marking the changes so that she knows how many pages each character has. the picture above shows her with ones of hers.
It was a brilliant session and again I apologise if my notes are a little thin on this meaty subject but it was the end of day!
Off to the beach!!!