Monthly Archives: March 2015

March Meeting – critique

We had a very interesting bunch of work to discuss for this meeting:  one horror, one medieval, one steam punk!  What a variety!  The horror and medieval are both novel starts, and we have (in previous meetings) discussed big-picture issues:

Purpose (for story and arc); Structure (beginning, middle, end); plot and sub-plot arcs that would best show the purpose, build suspense/tension; character (arc – change, growth, development, consistency, interactions, escalation); POV (and who is the best character to tell this story, or this part of the story?).

The major consideration at this stage of the story is to look at the overall picture: does it work?  is there enough stuff to make the story complete, compelling, compulsive?

The steam punk story (short) will be part of an e-book, soon to be put out to the world (watch this space).

This month started on some of the middle picture issues: plot, logical build, POV, setting/location, time-frame.  There is more to it than that, but we can only take one step at a time, one word at a time, one meeting at a time.

And so we go on, into the world of story!


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POV and Dialogue – March toolbox meeting


POV – it may seem an easy toolbox topic, but once discussion opened, we discovered another quagmire with many published (and internet) authors having very different ideas (and some ideas are so vague and obtuse they are not worth the words they are written with).  We agreed with a new and (I think) Australian idea:

There are really only two main headings for POV:

Character POV (somebody active in the story):

first person (I) – in single form limited (one I); in multiple form (>one I)

third person (he, she) – limited (one POV); multiple (> one POV)

Non-character POV (external)

Camera angle;

External narrator (a distinct persona);

Non-persona (no distinct personality).

And that’s it in a nutshell.  If you want to know who to contact to learn more about this topic, contact us and we’ll forward information about the course.

And now for Dialogue.  The most important tasks for dialogue:

Reveal character; Provide information; Move the story forward.

If the dialogue doesn’t do one of these things, it doesn’t need to be in the story at all (unless your story is a soap-opera).

Attributions should be clear and unobtrusive (not get in the way of the story, or distract the reader).  Each person’s speech has its own paragraph (two POV’s do not have dialogue in the same para – speaking from a reader POV, this is so annoying because I am never sure who is really POV).

We also discussed diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence structure).  A lot of discussion.  Something along the lines of style, voice (story and character), more style, etc.  The cycle of word choice for story, for character, for tone, for mood …

It seems the main concept of character is to make each of them sound unique in the ways they speak, think, act, etc., but it is not an easy task.

And that’s it – a vague and confusing toolbox topic (POV) now seems relatively simple (is that a comedic sentence?), and a simple action (speaking) now seems so much more complex (as complex as a real person, isn’t it?).

See you in two weeks for the next bout (sorry, round; oops, session – don’t want it sounding like a boxing match – it’s so much fun and we learn so much from each other) of critique.

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Filed under Toolbox for Writers Craft