Category: Editorial Tricks

Contact Us Today for a
Free Consultation

POVs Should Cost Good Money

Writers switch point-of-view (POV) a lot.

“See, I need to describe what happens in a scene where Character A isn’t there but Character B is, so — we’ll just tell it from Character B’s POV….”

“I want the reader to know what Character B is thinking so I’m going to slip into his/her POV real quick in the middle of a scene told from Character A’s POV…”

“My narrator is omniscient so, even though 95% of it is told from the Character A’s POV, that’s my justification for having 5% from the POV of Character B…”

POVs should cost good money. Something that will act as a deterrent so that you really almost practically never switch POVs. Because, here’s the thing: each time we switch into another POV, we not only need another character to support that perspective — we need another world to imbue it. And that is no easy task.

A Memoir is About Connections

Every book has a known and an unknown. For a memoir, the unknown is the connections.

Working from a database of what you remember, what you may have previously written down in a journal, or what others may remind you is the raw material of memoir. As such, it may seem like just execution to get it all down.

But what if you took time to think on the page? To dig, not only into why something happened, but what it meant for other times in your life?

The ability to make those connections is what will matter to the reader, not the details of your life. The connections are what connects.

Editorial Feedback: The Seven Levels of Reaction

I have noticed that when a writer — myself included — receives an editor’s comments they go through a continuum of reactions.

  1. Hell no, I’m not doing that. Is this person stupid?
  2. Almost certainly a terrible idea but I’ll think about it one more time.
  3. That’s interesting.
  4. Oh crap, of course. I’m going to pretend that was there all along.
  5. Can I just steal this comment and put it right in the manuscript? Or do I have to ask?
  6. I wonder if they understand this subject matter better than I do?
  7. I am blessed to be in contact with someone this smart!

P.S. These aren’t really like the five stages of grief; it’s okay to live all of these places at the same time. I mean, it will have to be… ’cause it’s real.

Do Not Overtighten

Having recently dropped a kid off at college for the first time, I know what it’s like to put together some IKEA furniture…with the added handicap of trying to read the directions through a film of tears. Not joking.

 

Something about the directions for her bed struck me as useful for writers. In an early step (#5 of #21), they tell you not to overtighten the hex bolts. This is because one piece has to fit into another and there has to be some give — you get to the tightening of both pieces later.

You see where I’m going with this, right? I see a lot of writers overtightening their first draft: wordsmithing, agonizing over the perfect dialogue snippets or vocation for a minor character. Those answers will come over the course of the drafting process if you leave things a little loose. If you overtighten, you will just have to go back to a much earlier step and undo everything you have done between now and then — or worse, snap a piece off in your hand and have to go back to that giant parking lot with the weird trolley carts that don’t hold a damn thing comfortably.

Do not overtighten.