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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