Register Guidelines E-Books Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   MobileRead Forums > E-Book General > Writers' Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-09-2017, 03:19 AM   #16
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
gmw's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,903
Karma: 88988769
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Australia
Device: Kobo Aura One & H2Ov2, Sony PRS-650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
[...] So I would say, do action and POV for the first person, and reactions only for the second so you're not doing a "Groundhog Day" on the reader. If there's one thing I hate is when writers do that. It's like, "I already read this. Why are you telling me twice!?" It made me actually change up some scenes in a series I'm working on right now to avoid that very thing, turning the second POV into nothing but a teaser for what was coming next rather than repeating it over again verbatim in the next book.
My current project faces exactly this problem, and that's where the biggest cuts and rewrites took place after the first draft. The story is told from three perspectives and where these are independent events everything is fine, but when the three come together it is difficult to get just the right mix: enough overlap so context is maintained, but not so much that people feel like they're reliving the story over and over (I like your "Groundhog Day" example). There is a part through the middle of the book where I think it is still less than ideal ... but I'm working on it.
gmw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 03:48 PM   #17
skb
Addict
skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
skb's Avatar
 
Posts: 245
Karma: 1571730
Join Date: Mar 2010
Device: Ipod G4, MacOS 10.12, Calibre, Kindle Paperwhite
Yes, Steven and GMW, that's the dilemma exactly. Nicely summed up.

The Groundhog Dilemma.

The two POV aren't shared. That is, there are some events the two characters share, but mostly it's what happens to each when the other isn't around. They share the BIG things. But it's the little and middling stuff that happens in between bigness that they don't.

But yes, there be (potential) groundhogs. Still, I'm in no hurry, according to my notes, I started this story in 2009...
skb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 05:57 PM   #18
Hitch
Bookmaker & Cat Slave
Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Hitch's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,088
Karma: 63607829
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Device: K2, iPad, KFire, PPW, Voyage, and NookColor. 2 Droid, 1 Win8 ePUB rdrs
Quote:
Originally Posted by skb View Post
Yes, Steven and GMW, that's the dilemma exactly. Nicely summed up.

The Groundhog Dilemma.

The two POV aren't shared. That is, there are some events the two characters share, but mostly it's what happens to each when the other isn't around. They share the BIG things. But it's the little and middling stuff that happens in between bigness that they don't.

But yes, there be (potential) groundhogs. Still, I'm in no hurry, according to my notes, I started this story in 2009...
Well, really...aren't you just trying to fit backstory in? You're not Groundhogging it. You're doing what 75% of all authors do--dealing with how to shoehorn backstory into your plot. You can either do the ubiquitous "flashback," e.g., "Sharon thought back about the day she'd met him...", or s/he relays the eveents to the ubiquitous unknowing third party, who mostly tends to exist for Just. This. Purpose.

The ability to shoehorn backstory in is, IMHO, the mark of creativity. I mean, we all see it, we read it; when we simply accept it as part of the plot, it's been done successfully. Really, how's it any different than any conveyance of critical information to the reader? We all remember The Da Vinci Code, right? There you have huge, huge quantities of info that the author has to convey to the reader, or the reader will, literally, lose the plot, so to speak. Brown uses the plot device of (effectively) the debutante; the inexperienced female character, who gets everything told to her, over the course of the story--and we, the readers, are learning it at the same time.

Because Brown is the master of the cliffhanger--which keeps us page-turning--and because he uses the tried-and-true method of having the older, experienced male expert tell the story to the much younger female, we think nothing of it.

It's no different. Your information may not be the dry information of whether or not "The Last Supper" has or has not mirror images of this or that, or whether the Church thinks this or that, but you're doing the same exact thing. You need to convey information, held by character X, as part of his or her experiential life. It's still simply information, whether it's something that happened from her POV, or it's a book she read, or like Robert Langdon, information in which s/he is an expert, right?

Soooo, you can info dump it (often a bad choice); Flashback it (better and more typical), or relay it seamlessly, (hopefully seamlessly) to a third party.

Right? Did I miss one, gang?

Hitch
Hitch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 09:22 PM   #19
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
gmw's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,903
Karma: 88988769
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Australia
Device: Kobo Aura One & H2Ov2, Sony PRS-650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
[...] Soooo, you can info dump it (often a bad choice); Flashback it (better and more typical), or relay it seamlessly, (hopefully seamlessly) to a third party.

Right? Did I miss one, gang?

Hitch
On the back-story options, I'd break Flashback into two. There are the, normally longer, traditional flashbacks "Joe remembered when <some lengthy description of the past>", but there are also more subtle ones: "This always happened to Joe.", "Joe taught him how to do this years ago", or, "See the scars." I used a variation of the latter in my current project to reinforce hints at a violent background for a character without having to describe it. In my experience these latter are flashbacks of opportunity, you find places where these tiny snippets fit naturally into the narrative or dialogue, and a surprising amount of background information can be imparted without being explicit. (Of course, you have to know your characters fairly well, including the background events, in order to see the opportunities when they arise.)

Arguments can make good places for revealing bits of back-story, people always bring up old stuff in an argument.


But I got the impression that skb is not really talking about the traditional back-story situation here, but within the story - the overlap between points of views. In an omniscient narrative this isn't a problem, but where you are trying to keep each POV entirely within the head of a single character it can be an issue. ... So it's more like flash-sideways.

I have a car chase scene near the start of the book I'm currently editing, and all three POVs are involved. There is lots of confusion for all the characters and at first I had quite a lot of overlap between each POV - because I needed those to keep it all clear in my head as I was writing it. On second draft most of these got cut back so the switching POVs told a continuous series of events, with no more than a sentence or so linking them to keep the context clear (one POV scene ends with gun shots, the next starts with them, sort of thing).

But in the middle of the book there is a much quieter situation where all three POVs are secretly watching the other. Here, so far, I've had to allow for more overlap. Because it's not a climax, I've had to keep the POV scenes longer than they were with the car chase, and this doesn't allow a neat sequence of events. ... Or that's the way it sits at the moment. I'm still trying to decide whether I should rewrite a few scenes to reduce the overlap.

Last edited by gmw; 12-09-2017 at 09:24 PM.
gmw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 11:17 PM   #20
skb
Addict
skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.skb ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
skb's Avatar
 
Posts: 245
Karma: 1571730
Join Date: Mar 2010
Device: Ipod G4, MacOS 10.12, Calibre, Kindle Paperwhite
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
But I got the impression that skb is not really talking about the traditional back-story situation here, but within the story - the overlap between points of views. In an omniscient narrative this isn't a problem, but where you are trying to keep each POV entirely within the head of a single character it can be an issue. ... So it's more like flash-sideways.
Yes! That's more like it - a flash-sideways. With no groundhogging (hopefully).

Although, at the moment I'm mostly I'm reading Faulkner (showing me how it's done), which is totally Dr Drib's fault.

Thanks everyone. I think I'm getting my plans straight-ish in my mind. The hardest thing is to stay inside one head. I'm realising that I tend to wobble around (which is not good at all) and I'd never noticed until I'm trying different things.
skb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 11:17 PM   #21
Hitch
Bookmaker & Cat Slave
Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Hitch's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,088
Karma: 63607829
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Device: K2, iPad, KFire, PPW, Voyage, and NookColor. 2 Droid, 1 Win8 ePUB rdrs
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
On the back-story options, I'd break Flashback into two. There are the, normally longer, traditional flashbacks "Joe remembered when <some lengthy description of the past>", but there are also more subtle ones: "This always happened to Joe.", "Joe taught him how to do this years ago", or, "See the scars." I used a variation of the latter in my current project to reinforce hints at a violent background for a character without having to describe it. In my experience these latter are flashbacks of opportunity, you find places where these tiny snippets fit naturally into the narrative or dialogue, and a surprising amount of background information can be imparted without being explicit. (Of course, you have to know your characters fairly well, including the background events, in order to see the opportunities when they arise.)

Arguments can make good places for revealing bits of back-story, people always bring up old stuff in an argument.
Yes--but this is character development. You're conveying information about a character, in various ways. As in, "[t]his always happened to Joe," for example. I don't think that these are the same as backstory or flashbacks.


Quote:
But I got the impression that skb is not really talking about the traditional back-story situation here, but within the story - the overlap between points of views. In an omniscient narrative this isn't a problem, but where you are trying to keep each POV entirely within the head of a single character it can be an issue. ... So it's more like flash-sideways.
Well...if you're right, yes, that's different, but, that wasn't my take on it.

Quote:
I have a car chase scene near the start of the book I'm currently editing, and all three POVs are involved. There is lots of confusion for all the characters and at first I had quite a lot of overlap between each POV - because I needed those to keep it all clear in my head as I was writing it. On second draft most of these got cut back so the switching POVs told a continuous series of events, with no more than a sentence or so linking them to keep the context clear (one POV scene ends with gun shots, the next starts with them, sort of thing).
I can certainly see that--I'm also the sort of writer who pares during editing. Once to get 1800 words I loved, I nuked 60,000 (yes, 60K) that I didn't. That's an extreme case, but that's my process, generally, as well.

Quote:
But in the middle of the book there is a much quieter situation where all three POVs are secretly watching the other. Here, so far, I've had to allow for more overlap. Because it's not a climax, I've had to keep the POV scenes longer than they were with the car chase, and this doesn't allow a neat sequence of events. ... Or that's the way it sits at the moment. I'm still trying to decide whether I should rewrite a few scenes to reduce the overlap.

I don't know, maybe it's the type of book that I read, but multiple POVs are pretty common, so...I guess I'm accustomed to them. Reading one now, as it happens--pulp, but, one I have enjoyed (in a series).

Hitch
Hitch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2017, 11:24 PM   #22
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
gmw's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,903
Karma: 88988769
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Australia
Device: Kobo Aura One & H2Ov2, Sony PRS-650
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Yes--but this is character development. You're conveying information about a character, in various ways. As in, "[t]his always happened to Joe," for example. I don't think that these are the same as backstory or flashbacks.[...]
But one piece of writing can achieve multiple things at the same time. When writing descriptions it is sometimes possible (and desirable) to tease the reader into filling out the details for you, and that can be done for back-story just as it is done for settings and character descriptions.

Here's one line of dialogue from Until I Find You by John Irving. It's said by Mr Ramsey as he drives 10yo Jack to his new boys-only school:

"Never be afraid to take a beating, Jack. At the very least, it's an acting opportunity."

I think it's quite wonderful how much this one line tells you about about Mr Ramsey. Even if this had been all that Irving gave (it wasn't), the picture is almost complete. To me this reads as a flash-back in hiding (Mr Ramsey has taken beatings), and a character portrayal (how he dealt with them) all in one line.
gmw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2017, 12:18 AM   #23
Cinisajoy
Just a Yellow Smiley.
Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Cinisajoy ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Cinisajoy's Avatar
 
Posts: 19,162
Karma: 83811071
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Texas
Device: K4, K5, fire, kobo, galaxy
Quote:
Originally Posted by skb View Post
Yes! That's more like it - a flash-sideways. With no groundhogging (hopefully).

Although, at the moment I'm mostly I'm reading Faulkner (showing me how it's done), which is totally Dr Drib's fault.

Thanks everyone. I think I'm getting my plans straight-ish in my mind. The hardest thing is to stay inside one head. I'm realising that I tend to wobble around (which is not good at all) and I'd never noticed until I'm trying different things.
You are a weeble?
Good luck staying in your head.
Cinisajoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2017, 03:06 AM   #24
Hitch
Bookmaker & Cat Slave
Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.Hitch ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
Hitch's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,088
Karma: 63607829
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Device: K2, iPad, KFire, PPW, Voyage, and NookColor. 2 Droid, 1 Win8 ePUB rdrs
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
But one piece of writing can achieve multiple things at the same time. When writing descriptions it is sometimes possible (and desirable) to tease the reader into filling out the details for you, and that can be done for back-story just as it is done for settings and character descriptions.

Here's one line of dialogue from Until I Find You by John Irving. It's said by Mr Ramsey as he drives 10yo Jack to his new boys-only school:

"Never be afraid to take a beating, Jack. At the very least, it's an acting opportunity."

I think it's quite wonderful how much this one line tells you about about Mr Ramsey. Even if this had been all that Irving gave (it wasn't), the picture is almost complete. To me this reads as a flash-back in hiding (Mr Ramsey has taken beatings), and a character portrayal (how he dealt with them) all in one line.
Yes--and lines like that are why Irving is a master of the craft. I remember seeing a line that really caught my attention, in a Hallinan Poke Rafferty, for similar reasons. (It's sad that we actually remember them now, because great writing isn't everywhere these days...).

It's one of the reasons that I do oftentimes recommend the Snowflake method to new writers. Not because it's the only way to get there; it patently isn't. But the plethora of one-dimensional, cardboard characters virtually eliminates any possibility of seeing lines like Irving's from a manuscript.

Warning: small rant:

Spoiler:
Some of you may remember the story I tell, about the guy that finally made me give up editing--he killed off the desire, entirely, but one of the things that just irked me to the nth was, when I asked him about HOW he and his co-author-cum-ghost-writer had come up with the traits, etc., for their characters, and he responded that they'd used horoscope traits--and basically just filled in the names. Now...honestly, their character development was SO BAD that it surprised me that they had done that much--but they co-write SIX bloody novels, and through the end of the 6th, I knew NOTHING more about their protagonist-hero than I did at the start. Why? Because he wasn't a character, or a person. He existed for no reason other than to convey the story. He had no emotions--at all. He didn't get angry, mad, scared--nothing. He was Watson, if Watson was written by an AI, sans any interesting bits at all. Oh, he was supposed to be a manly man, an alleged former Army Ranger, with "mysterious" missions, etc., in his past, but...he was the most one-dimensional character I think I've ever suffered through. Of course, they also called them "mysteries," when, while they had murders, they had NO clues, no detective, and in at least 3, no mystery whatsoever. URRRGGGH, nearly a decade later, and those books STILL piss me off.


ANYWAY...the point being, for the typical new writer who actually works his/her way through the entire Snowflake Method, at least they know enough about their protags, by the end, to have a prayer in hell of dropping little bits and pearls like that, into their story.

I don't know about you guys, but I cannot tell a lie--I'm sick to death of the onslaught of the One-Dimensional Character, since the advent of self-pubbing in a big way.

So, this discussion is a good opportunity for you guys to use those fabulous lines, terrific bits of dialogue, etc., not merely to present info dumps, but to carve your characters into the mind of the reader--just as Irving did so deftly. :-) Keep carving!

Hitch
Hitch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2017, 04:28 AM   #25
gmw
cacoethes scribendi
gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.gmw ought to be getting tired of karma fortunes by now.
 
gmw's Avatar
 
Posts: 3,903
Karma: 88988769
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Australia
Device: Kobo Aura One & H2Ov2, Sony PRS-650
Aside from a few exceptions (probably fairly predictably: The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Fourth Hand - where he got everything spot-on) I read Irving mostly for the writing and character observations. Often his stories, and the characters themselves, leave something to be desired. It is no wonder he has become a master, he has worked and reworked the same characters, and many of the same situations, time and time again across his books; he's got to get it right occasionally. That sounds a bit mean, perhaps, but it also says something that about the quality of his writing that I'm happy to sit through through the variations just to hear his voice.

Talking about very different books, Hitch said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
Spoiler:
[...]URRRGGGH, nearly a decade later, and those books STILL piss me off.
Ha! So those books were memorable then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
I don't know about you guys, but I cannot tell a lie--I'm sick to death of the onslaught of the One-Dimensional Character, since the advent of self-pubbing in a big way.
Indeed. Many a potentially good story (book or movie) has been badly spoiled because I didn't give a s**t care who they decided to kill at the end.


One of the things I both like and dislike about my own writing is finding myself almost more in-tune with my bad guys than the good guys. In my first series it was the "bad guys" that got a prelude written - but not published - about them. One of the POVs in the book I'm editing now originally started out as the villain, and she still is - sort of - but it's gotten more and more ambiguous as the story develops. I like that, but it can get confusing as you write. ... And I've got to remember to pay some attention to my good guys. I like to think they're interesting, but I'm not sure that's coming over very well. ... I'll keep chipping away.
gmw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Writing here.. blackcatw81 Introduce Yourself 2 03-01-2015 05:08 PM
A different sort of writing gmw Writers' Corner 0 09-03-2014 10:59 PM
Help with writing a plugboard gavinjb Library Management 2 11-06-2013 09:15 PM
writing program help? Anna Drake Writers' Corner 0 10-17-2013 05:38 PM
What are you currently writing? Dr. Drib Writers' Corner 948 09-13-2012 01:12 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:13 AM.


MobileRead.com is a privately owned, operated and funded community.