Author Archives: CLW

What’s Your Point of View?

by Lisa Sledge

I finished reading The Tale of Despereaux two days ago. I’d never read it before. Shocking, really, since it’s a Newbery winner, a movie, and written by Kate DiCamillo.

I love Because of Winn Dixie.

In Despereaux, Kate used a strong omniscient voice. I’ve experimented with this for my own WIP. It’s really hard. So I wondered, as I read, what makes an author choose one point of view over another?

There’s a huge trend in YA and children’s books for stories in the first person because it brings the reader closest to the protagonist. Third person is a standard POV in novels.  It puts another degree of distance between the reader and the characters, yet still keeps them close. But what about omniscient?

I watch Brandon Sanderson‘s writing classes on youtube. He said that using an omniscient POV puts the greatest degree of distance between the reader and your characters, that it’s been out of favor for at least 20 years, and basically stamped the words “DO NOT ATTEMPT ” across it. Everything else I’ve heard or read seems to be in agreement.

Why did Kate DiCamillo use the omniscient POV for her story? And don’t tell me it’s because she’s awesome and therefore she can do whatever the heck she wants. That’s true, but she’s also a gifted and inspiring artist. She wouldn’t have done it without a valid reason.

This is my theory. I think the POV can help define your novel’s voice and become part of the entertainment. And I also believe that sometimes you need distance in your story. The Tale of Despereaux is a book for young children, yet terrible things happen. There are death sentences, rats who strip little mouse bones clean, tortured prisoners, child slavery, abuse, a dead queen, and a kidnapping. The distance of the omniscient voice allowed her to present difficult material to a  sensitive audience.

And you know what? I liked it.

I also think it takes serious talent to make omniscient POV work. Which is why Kate’s book won a Newbery and mine is being rewritten.

What is your favorite POV as a writer? Is it different from what you enjoy reading?

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Three Things Thursday

One Thing:

I haven’t taken the time to thank all the people who post here and help me in doing so. Cheryl, Brenda, Debbie and Lisa, I  couldn’t keep coming up with idea after idea. So thank you so much for sending me pieces each week.

Love, Carol

Two Things:

There was a 6.0 earthquake in Napa, California on Sunday morning. I’m about 20 miles from the epicenter. 
 
I woke up to the bed shaking like we were in a frying pan. 3:20 am. I jumped out of bed, but the ground wasn’t stable either. 
 
“Earthquake,” I told my husband, whose first thought was that the rattling windows was an intruder. “Earthquake, earthquake!”
 
Then, “The baby!”
 
The few feet to her room seemed to stretch into eternity. The quake was over by the time I got there. She’d slept through it. Her rocking chair rocked as if someone sat in it, watching us. 
 
My next thoughts turned to the potential damage for those at the epicenter. I thought it originated in San Francisco, 60 miles away. If that was true, it meant at least a 9.0 magnitude. The city was demolished. Underwater. Millions were dead. 
 
The news took about 20 minutes to catch up, but Facebook was alive within seconds. I cried when friends from San Francisco posted that there was no significant damage, relieved. 
 
Slowly, facts trickled in. Napa is a small tourist town known for its wineries. Damaged buildings, fires, and mostly minor injuries. But thankfully, nothing like the devastation I’d imagined. 
 
So, if I were a main character, my first instinct was to warn those family members who could take care of themselves and shield the ones that couldn’t. The next was to envision the worst possible scenario for the rest of the world. 
 
What would your MC have done?
Cheryl Van Eck
 
Three Things:
 
Another “quick” question, at the end of a summer’s madness, to help us refocus (borrowed from The Graceful Lie by Michael Petracca, one of my favorite writing books):  List some of your literary heroes.
 
To delve farther, answer these related questions as well: Would I like to write in a style that emulates any of these people? Are there certain types of writing that I don’t particularly like and would prefer to avoid emulating?

 

 
Brenda Bensch

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Have been behind on posting for the blog.
That is because I’ve had a crazy few weeks.

First off, I got an agent! I can’t believe it. People are actually reading my book. People who might want to actually publish it!

I moved up to Salt Lake county. {I’m at the Library right now. It was difficult to find, but I managed}

I don’t have internet at my house. That is one of the reasons why I haven’t been able to post.

Writing ideas are trying to make their way out of my brain. I’m not sure if they are good ones, but at least I’m trying to write. I’m worried everything is bad and that I’m going to disappoint Steve. I’m already worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. Sounds about right.

I’m leaving for my trip to Florida in just a few weeks.

I am struggling to find a part time job. Being poor is hard. But I have just been telling all my new friends that I’m a “starving artist.” It’s not as fun as it sounds.

My lack of sleeping has come back. And I’ve been having nightmares. Not sure what this is from, but it isn’t great.

But overall I am very happy with how my life is going. And nothing feels better than telling people that I have an agent, and that I am actually a real writer.

Woohoo

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Ten Things I Like about Writing x Two

What You Might Think

1. New cover reveals. Just saw the newest cover to my book coming out from Zondervan called Never Said. It’s beautiful.

2.Being asked to blurb a book. I’m reading something terrific right now for S&S.

3. Talking ideas with Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee.

4. Writing. I also hate this part of being a writer.

5. When the book is coming along and I am happy.

6. Getting a nice review.

7. Teaching others about writing. There is something about watching other people succeed that is very familial.

8. Talking to my agent/editor.

9. Holding that new book.

10. Thinking about the next idea when I have no idea what I might write. At this moment, as I near the completion of two books I am working on by myself, I feel like I might never write another novel. This is kinda scary. Will I settle on something new? Will I be able to write it? What am I going to do?

 

What You Might Not Think

1. Reading Dear Abby. Even though sometimes she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

2. Driving past homes at night where you can see inside and people are being a family. (That happens around here in UT.) Or things are just in there. I have never seen a dirty house at night. This is one reason I keep my blinds shut in the evenings.

3. Listening in on other people’s conversations. All kinds. The old lady swearing up a storm at the man in Village Inn. The newly married couple in the freezer section of Smith’s. The kids playing outside across the street (those beautiful girls were the first to sing a song from Frozen to me).

4.Watching students on campus at BYU. Once I saw a guy grab a girl up in a tight hug and she checked her phone over his shoulder.

5. Hearing stories from my mom. They come few and far between, but every once in a while  . . .

6. Talking to my writer friends about their writing troubles. Don’t get me wrong. I am happy for their successes. But I like working out worries together.

7. Looking through homes for sale for the place with the perfect office.

8. Watching my daughters make choices when times are truly tough. I don’t always like the results. In fact, there are times when the results are hart breaking. But.

9. Once my beloved grandmother said, “And who would read somebody else’s letters? Who? Or look through another person’s drawers.” I couldn’t answer her.

10. Thinking about the next idea when I have no idea what I might write. Will it be found somewhere mentioned above?

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Publication, writing process

Dialogue. It’s killing me.

by Lisa Sledge

 

And what do we do when we’re stuck in our writing? First we eat a lot of chocolate-double-fudge-brownie ice cream with a dollop of peanut butter on top. Then we look for inspiration.

 

This time I had my “sloppy writing intervention party” with  The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing. (Shout out to my fabulous WIFYR writing buddy, Elizabeth Chappell, for recommending a book that is saving both my WIP and my sanity!) It gave me ideas for how to write in silence into conversations in a variety of ways beyond saying, “He was silent”, reminded me that dialogue needs a creative life of its own, and showed me subtle ways to incorporate details from the world of the novel in order to keep the reader grounded. It was exactly what I needed.

 

What are your favorite books or resources to turn to when your writing goes flat? Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

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We’re making a few changes

See you on the flip flop!

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Three Things Thursday

1. Kyra got an agent! He’s shopping her book even as we speak!

2. Cheryl Van Eck:

Do you remember back when you were the greatest writer in the world? Back when you didn’t know a single thing about writing?
All you had to do was sit down and “let the words flow.” And whenever it sounded bad, it was only because you’d hit writer’s block. So you just had to sit back, let it pass, and then you’d write brilliantly again.
Ah, those good old days.
However, now you’ve actually studied writing. And so you have a constant editor on your shoulder, screaming at you after every  sentence. Shoulder Editor can quote Stephen King verbatim and never fails to remind you that everything you’re writing reeks of the first draft stench. And if you ever claim “writer’s block,” Shoulder Editor smacks you upside the head.
Shoulder Editor is your best friend on the second (and third and fourth) draft. He polishes your manuscript, banishes your adverbs, and murders your darlings without an ounce of remorse.
But during the first draft, you’ve got to kick him out. Self-doubt is the worst form of writer’s block. Be the confident writer you were before you knew what poor writing was. It’s hard to be proud of the quality of a first draft, but you should at least be able to revel in the freedom of it.
3.Brenda Bensch:
Here’s just a quick question to ask yourself — and, hopefully, to write briefly about (the questions are always “quick” — it’s the answers that take a while):
What do I hope to achieve by making a commitment to engage regularly in the writing process?
A soul-searching few moments may point the way for you: good luck!

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