Tag Archives: POV

15.28: Small Evils

Your Hosts: Brandon, Victoria, Dan, and Howard

Small evils? Yes, please! This episode isn’t about writing the big villainy of world domination, but about focusing on the more relatable villainy of small evils—the little crimes, the minor antagonisms—which can be the key to connecting the reader to the book.

Liner Notes: The deadly nightshade incident Howard described is something he mentioned on Twitter as well. If you need a concrete example of a small evil and/or an external cost, there it is!

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Base a villain on yourself

The Kingdom of Liars, by Nick Martel

15.08: Q&A on a Ship

Your Hosts: Dan, Mary Robinette, Dongwon, and Howard

At WXR 19 we recorded live, and took audience questions aboard the ship. Here they are! (You’ll have to listen to the episode for the answers.)

  • What have you learned in the past year that has improved your craft?
  • When you’re having trouble, how do you know if it’s “I don’t feel like writing” or “there’s a problem with the manuscript?”
  • How far ahead do you plan your careers?
  • How do you tell when a fight/battle/showdown is going on for too long?
  • How do you continue to learn and improve on your craft?
  • How do you manage and prioritize your time when you’re working on multiple projects?
  • How do you feel about multiple first-person POVs in a single book?
  • What are the most important elements to include on the last page of your book?
  • What are some things we can do to strengthen our voice when writing in third person?
  • How do you decide who to have as alpha and beta readers?
  • In secondary world stories, how do you decide whether to call a horse a horse?
  • How much leeway will an editor or agent give a story when it’s not ready, but it shows promise?

Liner Notes: “Sometimes Writer’s Block is Really Depression”
Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Write three different first lines for your project.

Jade War, by Fonda Lee

13.1: Hero, Protagonist, Main Character

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

2018 is our Year of Character, and we kick it off with a quick exploration of the differences between heroes, protagonists, and main characters. Beginning with addressing the question “wait, aren’t they all the same person?” Because that’s the elephant in the room. Or maybe it’s three elephants. Or two. Sometimes there’s no elephant, and if you look carefully you can see an elephant-shaped hole, which is probably more like a negative number of elephants.

Liner Notes: We referenced The Hollywood Formula, which was introduced to us by Lou Anders in Episode 6.18. We also keep saying “protag” as a verb, which to us means “doing proactive protagonist things.” Howard may have made up this word, but its true provenance has been lost to the mists of anxiety of influence.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson. For audio quality purposes the studio contained zero elephants.

 

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Tell a story with three characters—hero, protagonist, and main character. Tell it three times, once for each of those in which they are the POV character.

Emerald Circus, by Jane Yolen

12.9: Q&A on Viewpoint

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

You had questions about viewpoint. Here they are!

  • Do you have tips and tricks for making 3rd-person omniscient compelling?
  • How do you make 3rd-person limited compelling?
  • Is it normal to need several drafts to nail down a character’s voice?
  • What’s the best way to portray an unreliable 3rd-person limited narrator?
  • What are your most effective methods for immersing yourself in character attributes so that you can get the voice right?
  • How do you choose between 1st and 3rd person?
  • How do you select the viewpoint character for a scene?
  • How do you smoothly transition between viewpoints?
  • How do you prevent character voices from blending into each other and becoming indistinguishable?

(Our answers are in the podcast.)

 

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Swap dialog between characters. How do different characters say the same thing? How do they react when something they would say is said to them?

12.7: Description Through the Third Person Lens

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

The third-person POV lens can be used for simultaneously describing the world to the reader and describing the character. In this episode we’ll talk about where we deploy these tools, where the pitfalls are, and how to do it well.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, who heard the AC turn back on, and mastered by Alex Jackson, who was happy to not need to digitally filter the AC out of the mix.

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Homework assignment: read Ursula LeGuin’s Steering the Craftand dive into the exercises there.

Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly

12.6: Variations on Third Person

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard

This episode focuses on the third person POV, and some variations on them, like omniscient and limited, and some sub-variants like cinematic and head-hopping.

Credits: This episode was recorded aboard Oasis of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Write a passage, and then re-write it in limited, omniscient narrator, head-hopping, and cinematic POVs.

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho, narrated by Jenny Sterlin

12.4: Hybrid Viewpoints

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard, with Sandra Tayler

Piper J. Drake joins the cast for our week-four episodes, of which this is the first. This week we’ll be drilling down into hybrid viewpoints—blending 1st and 3rd person, framing stories, stories-within-stories, and unreliable narration—and how to best serve our work with these techniques.

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Put a framing story around something you’ve already written.

Absolute Trust, by Piper J. Drake

11.06: The Element of Wonder

We’ve introduced the concept of Elemental Genre already. It’s time to start digging in to the elements themselves, beginning with the Element of Wonder. We started with this one because “sense of wonder” is a term that gets used to describe what makes some science fiction stories work.

In this episode we expand upon the word “wonder” a bit, making the shorthand of “elemental wonder” more useful, not to mention more descriptive. We then go on to detail some methods writers might use to evoke wonder, leveraging that element for the greatest effect in their work.

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Homework! Apply a sense of wonder to something small and ordinary. Describe it using those cool point-of-view tools that evoke wonder in the reader.

The Wright Brothers, written and narrated by David McCullough