Workshop Transcript

Examining Viewpoints

with Melody DeLeon


berries Close Window to Return

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Examining Viewpoints writers' workshop Tonight

good2u: Workshop tonight???????

Verla: we haven't started yet, good2U. You are in time.

MelLane: Time enough for me to get a Dr. Pepper... brb

NOTE: brb = Be Right Back (or sometimes, BathRoom Break)

good2u: I forgot!

good2u: What's the topic?

wusu: good! I'm usually a very prompt person!

Verla points good's face towards the subject line...

Verla: it's on the subject line, good. Sheesh.

good2u: Oh I just read the green blub. I usually ignore it.

good2u: LOL

NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud

wusu: this is a great subject tonight for me as I've changed my VP in my new YA twice *g*

NOTE: VP = Viewpoint

NOTE: YA = Young Adult novel

NOTE: g = Grin

Verla: I'm going to get mel's bio. Who wants to set up the chairs? Dust the podium? Get mel's water? Test the microphone?

good2u: I am setting up chairs

good2u: Here's the water glass.

wusu: dusting, I'm good at dusting

good2u: Tap, tap, tap. Mike is working.

MelLane: I have my Dr. Pepper, thanks Verla... but IF you don't mind, I think I'll lead it from the easy chair in the corner.

_Lyra: Mel doesn't does need a microphone -- she's got a Texas voice and it'll carry.

MelLane: Hey! Lyra! I resemble that remark!!

wusu dusts the podium sending plumes of dust into the air

good2u: OK

MelLane: I'm a bit tired tonight. (g)

MelLane: We've been having VBS this week, and I've been writing & performing skits this week.

NOTE: VBS = Vacation Bible School

good2u: Here is energy for you mel!!!

MelLane: Thanks, good!

MelLane perks up a bit in the chair.

Verla: testing: (Verla "tests" Mel's Bio)

Verla: yes! it works!

MelLane: Your stuff ALWAYS works, Verla.

Verla: I didn't know if it would bump me for flooding or not, mel. It was a little bit long.

NOTE: "Flooding" is a phenomenon of chat rooms where a person who tries to cut and paste too much material at one time into a room gets automatically bumped out of the chat room by the server. It is a safeguard measure built into the server of the Kidlit chat room to keep chat room "crashers" from coming into the room and flooding it with obscenities and other stuff that would keep the regular chatters in the room from being able to hold a normal conversation.

Verla: You ready to start, mel?

Verla: We are ready for you. :-)

MelLane: Sure! Any time!

Verla: we go...

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Examining Viewpoints writers' workshop IN PROGRESS

Verla: Welcome!

MelLane: Everyone here knows me, I think.

Verla: Welcome to our weekly Kidlit Workshop. We ask that you hold all personal chit-chat until the hour is up, but Please! Free free to join in the topic currently under discussion.

Verla: Our leader tonight is Melody DeLeons

MelLane: (DeLeon)

tem2: Yay, Mel!

MelLane bows low....

Verla: Kill the S. Sorry, Mel. I always think of you in the plural. Like royalty.

MelLane: LOL!

Verla: Here is her bio, so you can learn a little more about her.

Verla: Melody DeLeon has been writing since the age of 6, when she picked out her pen name, Melody Lane. She writes stories, skits and novels, all aimed toward middle grade to young adult ages. She edited a church newspaper for two years, and recently sold six skits to Group Publishing for their "OUTREACH SKITS FOR YOUTH MINISTRY". She studies the Inspirational/Christian Markets avidly and is currently writing for the newly termed "cross-over" market.

Verla: Melody is a licensed Jail Minister/Interpreter and frequently preaches at both the County Jail and the Juvenile Detention and Jail center. She heads the ministry team for the Juvenile center and knows first-hand the kinds of pressure today's teen deals with. Her writing and ministry goals are the same: to equip young people with the faith in God that will enable them to deal with today's world and to help them attain their goals.

Verla: Melody currently lives in Marshall, Texas, with her three daughters, ages 17, 15 and 12. She is actively involved in the Youth and Children's Ministry at her church.

Verla: Tonight's topic is EXAMINING VIEWPOINTS.

Verla: Feel free to comment and ask questions as we go along. Our workshops are meant to be casual and interactive, but please, stay on topic and keep personal hellos and goodbyes until the hour is up. Thanks!

Verla steps off the podium amid riotous clapping and Mel steps forward.

MelLane: Hi, ya'll!

MelLane gives a Texas wave.

tem2: Mel! Mel! Mel!

MelLane: How would you define viewpoint?

MelLane: Or point of view? What would be your definition?

good2u: Classically, 1st, and 3rd and omnicient

MelLane: Ok... anyone else?

good2u: My defintion: How you personally see the world

MelLane: anyone else? (this is not a trick question, guys)

MelLane: No one?

_Lyra: I don't know that I have a definition -- it's just something I consider before I start a book, whose voice should I write in

tem2: We're writers, not definers. :D

NOTE: -- :D = a sideways laughing face

_Lyra: But defining the methods of writing is a better way to understand

MelLane: Well, here's my definition.... viewpoint is how your reader sees your story.

MelLane: You can't consider viewpoint without considering voice.

wusu: ah . . . that's key, mel. A good thing to remember

MelLane: And first, you have to decide whose voice, or viewpoint, you want/need to show.

good2u: I agree, Mel

Verla: A lot of new people have a problem understanding just what these things ARE, mel. I know I did when I first started writing. Viewpoint and voice terrified me as I had no idea what they really were.

MelLane: True.

MelLane: Let's start with viewpoint, of course.

MelLane: Viewpoint is: How do you want your readers to see your story?

wusu: as in, through whose eyes, right?

MelLane: Do you want them to BE your main character?

MelLane: If so, then you use the 1st person viewpoint. Yes, whose eyes, wusu... exactly.

tem2: I want them to identify with the main character.

_Lyra: I started writing as a reader of mostly first person view points -- so that came natural to me, but I had to learn third person

MelLane: The 2nd person is almost never used, so we won't discuss it.

_Lyra: I like that attitude, Mel (g)

good2u: But what IS it? Will someone explain it later?

MelLane: Explain what, good?

good2u: 2nd person

_Lyra: Second person can either be "Watson telling Sherlock's story" or a story with YOU do this, then YOU do that...

good2u: First person is I

good2u: That's how to remember that one

MishatheWa: second is you

wusu: boo for 2nd person! : )

NOTE: : ) or :-) = a sideways smiley face

MishatheWa: third is she

MishatheWa: or he

MelLane: 3rd is they/she/he

good2u: Thanks!!

_Lyra: I prefer first person books, although most of my books are in 3rd

MelLane: When you write in 1st person, you have to pretend to be your MC...

Verla: first person viewpoint is when you tell a story from inside the reader's head, isn't it? Like: I walked down the street, gaping in the window, when, BAM! I slammed into an open door.

Verla: or...I was walking down the street, gaping in the window, when BAM! An open door smashed into my face.

_Lyra: (anyone noticing how clumsy Verla is in first person?)

Verla: I do not write in first person!

Verla: I write in third!

Verla: AS: He walked down the street, gaping in the windows. BAM! He cracked his face into an open door.

Verla: (I will let someone else decide what viewpoint my examples are in. I have no idea. Except the first two examples I gave were some kind of first person and the last one is third of some kind. GRIN)

MelLane: LOL, Verla!

MelLane: Now 3rd limited is similar to 1st person.

good2u: In what way Mel?

MelLane: Good, you use the same voice (or MC character), but use he or she instead of I.

NOTE: MC = Main Character

good2u: Yes Mel.

MelLane: And, you even put his/her direct thoughts in the narrative.

Verla: Oh, you mean like: He walks down the street and BAM! He slams his face into an open door.

_Lyra: yes, Verla -- that's 3rd person limited

_Lyra: or you can use a name: Verla walked down the street...BAM!

Verla: Yippeee. I learned something new. (Now if I can just remember the technical term for it longer than one day....)

wusu: can you explain a bit more about 3rd limited, mel?

MelLane: Sure.

MelLane: Here's an example:

MelLane: Verla crept in the door, wishing she could see over the top of the big man's head. Gosh, he's tall, she thought.

*** DonaV has joined channel #Kidlit

_Lyra: Dona has come to explain about 2nd person viewpoint! pointing at Dona

DonaV: You get bumped from chat. You reappear. People like Lyra harrass you. You give her a raspberry.

wusu: lol, dona!

_Lyra: LOL, Dona

Verla: (LOVE that example of second person, Dona. Thanks.)

MelLane: I look at it this way:

MelLane: If I want to BE my MC, then I use 1st person.

MelLane: If I want to walk closely with my MC, but not inside their head, I use third person limited.

MelLane: When you use third person limited, you can't jump around to other people. You have to stay with that MC just as if it was 1st person.

wusu: oh . . . that's excellent, mel, I need to make a copy of that!

Verla: plagiarism, wusu?

wusu blushes hotly, "er . . . no . . . not at all . .."

MelLane: Third person is when you want the reader to see/hear everything at once, like watching a play.

good2u: So mel, 3rd limited and 1st are almost the same??

MelLane: Yes, good.

MelLane: Very close.

Verla: close, but you aren't INSIDE the character's head in third, right, mel?

MelLane: Right, Verla.

good2u: Got it

MelLane: It's kind of like walking right beside that MC.

good2u: I think there are lots of mistakes with writers between 3rd limited and first

_Lyra: Although there ARE ways around getting into their head with 3rd (g)

MelLane: Now, you can dip into their thoughts... like lyra does.

MelLane: I do that, too.

good2u: How Lyra??

_Lyra: Okay, I'll get an example ... give me a minute

Verla: hey, it's kind of like in first person, you ARE that person. In third limited, you are a flea on the person's head?

good2u: LOL Verla

good2u: OR a tick? Or a mole?

MelLane: Yes, Verla... but a little more than that....

xyzzzy: but a tick could actually be inside their head...

MishatheWa: You can use "he thought" to get inside his head

Verla: okay. so the person has a dual personality in third limited and you are telling the story from the viewpoint of the dual personality?

MelLane: No dual personality... you just don't know everything they think.

Verla is confused

Verla: But then that's nothing new...Verla is normally confused when it comes to technical writing terms. Sigh

MelLane: For instance: Josh smashed his finger. Man, that hurt!

MishatheWa: Jake shuddered, remembering his first day in kindergarten. He had arrived late, wearing second hand clothes that had been two sizes too small. The teacher had stood in front of the class, pointed at him and said, "You missed saying the alphabet. Can you recite it for me please?"

MelLane: Linda Joy's third person is good example. Mish's, too.

DonaV: To me, in third limited you filter everything through the perceptions of the vp character. For example, you don't use any words he doesn't know.

NOTE: vp = ViewPoint

MelLane: Third person, regular, is like watching the action on a stage. You follow the main character, but you see everything else as well.

MishatheWa: "What's the alphabet?" he had asked. The other children laughed. He couldn't figure out what he said that was so funny, and ran out of the room crying.

MishatheWa: It's all my mother's fault, he had thought.

_Lyra: Okay--here's an example of third person, but dipping into the thoughts

_Lyra: And Allison glanced at her watch and realized her father would be here in six hours.

_Lyra: I can't face him, she thought. What will I say if he insists I move back to Seattle? I don't want to be part of his campaign. I belong here.

MelLane: Both of these are EXCELLENT examples!

MelLane: Thanks Lyra, Mish, for sharing.

_Lyra: --I just underline a passage and dip into the character's intimate thoughts (that's from #5 REGENERATION)

NOTE: Regeneration is a fantastic new series about 5 teens who discover they are clones and their lives are in danger. It's written by L.J. Singleton (also known as _Lyra in the chat room)

good2u: *smile* Lyra

MelLane: And Dona is right, you don't use words that the MC wouldn't use.

MelLane: And that's called "voice".

good2u: Voice is how each character "sounds"?

MelLane: Yes... how the character/story sounds.

Verla: Hmmm. Voice to me is the personality of the character coming through the words he says...

_Lyra: point of view is the author's way of presenting the character's voice to the reader

MelLane: If you're telling HIS story, Verla... some 3rd person books don't dip into voice as much.

Verla: like: Josh said, "Gimme that!" And Sean replied, "No way, you dork. That is mine and I'm going to keep it."

wusu: in third regular, you can still have the character doing the "he though, she thought" right? (trying to get things straight!)

MelLane: Yes, wusu, and in 3rd limited.

Jim_Phelps: Which is preferred in childrens (say YA) novel, first person or third person limited?

MelLane: I've read a mixture of both, Jim.

MelLane: Now, 3rd person, generally is like watching something on the stage.

_Lyra: While all styles for YA are fine, there seems to be more first person present tense lately

wusu: Phew! that's good, as that's how I've been writing my new YA

Jim_Phelps: Voice is obviously going to change with perspective/POV.

NOTE: POV = Point Of View

Verla: I've heard that a lot of YA's are in first person

Verla: and that a lot of mid grades are in 3rd.

Verla: But who knows?

good2u: A trend these days?

_Lyra: But middle-grade still have a lot of 3rd person

good2u: For me, 3rd person is easier

_Lyra: the trend is "edgy" and "troubled"

good2u: I thought it was away from that Lyra

_Lyra: It's always a big decision what viewpoint to write a book in

MelLane: I think viewpoint should be one of the first things you consider.

MishatheWa: the story I thought was a mg was classified as a ya by an editor was in first

_Lyra: well, good -- SPEAK and MONSTER won awards that those are very edgy & dark (from what I hear)

Jim_Phelps: I suppose voice, like POV are somewhat dependent on the genre of story.

good2u: I don't think about it, really, I just write

MelLane: Monster is very unusual... written like a play.

good2u: I've heard differently Lyra

_Lyra: good--that's really the way to go. Just write the first draft.

good2u: I am not really up on fiction, however. It's my second love.

_Lyra: good--for midgrade, they seem to want more humor, at least that's what they say

wusu: I've heard that too, lyra

wusu: about editors wanting more humor in MG

NOTE: MG = Mid Grade novels

MelLane: Now, how do you find the BEST viewpoint for your story?

DonaV: I try my story in different viewpoints to see which one really works....

Verla: and really, don't you think it really doesn't matter as much what voice a story is written in as long as it tells THAT story in the most dramatic or best way?

good2u: Yes verla, bottom line for me is story

Verla: I think it is for most editors, too.

_Lyra: Story IS all important. It's still good to be comfortable with various viewpoints, whether you use them or not

MelLane: What is BEST for your story? How can you decide which viewpoint to use?

Jim_Phelps: I seem to start with a few scenes and play with the POV, until I find one I am comfortable with. The Voice comes with the character.

NOTE: POV = Point of View

MelLane: That's good, Jim.

wusu: also, when a story just isn't working, or you become stuck, often times switching view points is just what a story needs

wusu: it's good to be flexible when you start . . . I think

tem2: Even if you write third person, it's good to practice first person to get into a character's head.

MelLane: I agree, Tem.

MelLane: Some stories have alternating viewpoints... how does a writer decide when to use alternate viewpoints?

Jim_Phelps: Should one change POV in a YA novel, or stick to only one?

wusu: multiple POV can be challenging

MishatheWa: when one pov no longer works or gets boring

DonaV: Suspense is a good reason for alternating vps, Mel

MelLane: Jim, the question is: Will the story be richer, more suspenseful, better, by alternating viewpoints?

MishatheWa: right that's what I wanted to say mel (g)

wusu: I think some stories demand it . . . or, I should say, some characters demand it

Verla: One of the most difficult things for new writers (and many seasoned ones, too!) is to keep a story in ONE viewpoint. Most new writers seem to want to write in many. AS: Mother's head ached from all the screaming. Julie cried and rubbed her sore knee. She had never had a cut hurt this bad before. Jimmy kicked the dog. He was hungry and wanted food NOW. (Look closely and you can see that there are three different viewpoints in this paragraph.)

Verla: When you get "into" the head of a character, such as when you tell how they feel inside about a situation, then you are in that character's viewpoint.

wusu: they need their own spotlight, separate from the other characters

Jim_Phelps: I just finished reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons. He used a slight of word to give the feel of POV shift without really changing from Third Person.

Jim_Phelps: Hyperion had real strong prose, and emotional drama.

Harazin: Jim--thanks for mentioning Hyperion. I'll add it to my to read list

MelLane: I think any viewpoint we use, whether we alternate viewpoints or not, has to either make the story better, more suspenseful, and be such an intricate part of the story, that it would be impossible to tell the story any other way.

wusu: in the only novel I've written multiple POV, I gave each POV chacter their own chapters or splits, I didn't try to switch POV mid scene

MishatheWa: Like the mc dying at the end - you'd need to switch pov

MelLane: One thing to keep in mind in changing viewpoints, is to be consistent!

wusu: Good point mel, I agree

MelLane: Set up a pattern in the beginning and stick to it.

MishatheWa: I did that too wusu each chapter I changed

Verla: I did the same thing with my YA, wusu. Changed viewpoints with each chapter.

MelLane: Dona has written a book she did that with... and it worked very well.

DonaV: Thanks Mel

MelLane: And Lyra, your stories, have the sense that they can't be told any other way... which to me, is necessary.

MelLane: Yours, too, Dona. (and you're welcome!)

_Lyra: I have multiple viewpoints in REGENERATION -- switching from 1st person to 3rd for different characters

Jim_Phelps: I find many multiple POV's to be confusing.

MelLane: Lyra has used that method in ReGen and it was EXCELLENT!

wusu: now, here's a question, if you're doing third regular, and it reads like a play, aren't you then seeing differnt POV's?

MelLane: It's kind of like a camera-eye view... such as in Tom Clancy's NetForce.

MelLane: You're not as involved in the MC, but you're definitely pulling for him/her.

MelLane: You're about 3 or 4 steps away from him... (g)

_Lyra: On an aside, in the first draft of REGENERATION #1, I had some chapters in Chase's POV -- but my editor had me cut them as she didn't feel they added to the plot

NOTE: Chase is one of the main characters in the Regeneration series.

Jim_Phelps: My daughter used to read Animorphs. I found the POV shifts weak and a burden to the story.

Verla: yes, I try to keep mine to two, Jim. Alternating with each chapter. Chapter One in character A's viewpoint, Two is in character B's, then back to A's for Chapter Three, etc.

good2u: Maybe seasoned writers can switch around pov

good2u: I feel most safe in 3rd person

good2u: as a writer

Verla: you can always break the rules for a good reason, good. But before you break them, you should know them and know that you are breaking them because it makes your story better and not just because you don't know how to write strong enough to follow them. :-)

MelLane: EXACTLY, Verla!

_Lyra: Jim--I have read some books where you jump from different characters and you feel it's all the same person

Jim_Phelps: Elmore Lenard does wonderful 2 person POVs

good2u: Is this a Children's writer?

MelLane: Elmore Leonard? Isn't he a mystery writer?

Jim_Phelps: Yes

Jim_Phelps: more Thriller than mystery

DonaV: He also wrote Westerns at one time. He's very good! He also wrote screenplays.

Harazin: I just read "Boys Life" by McCormack (sp?) and he writes in 1st person--and head hops too

good2u: Is head hopping a trend these days?

Jim_Phelps: Depends on the genre good2u.

Verla: (speaking of head hops, did we talk about Omniscent? Or whatever that "see all -- know all" viewpoint is?)

NOTE: The answer to this question was: No. We hadn't discussed this viewpoint.

tem2: Omniscent gets into everyone's head.

_Lyra: The only viewpoint I've never done is omniscient -- showing multiple viewpoints in the same scene

_Lyra: You will find more omniscient books written in adult fiction, like the Jackie Collins type, than you will in children's books

DonaV: I think Jackie Collins is alternating third past limited

_Lyra: I did a book in 4 points of view once (#5 CHEER SQUAD) but used the device of journals to set each POV apart

good2u: Lyra, that's called 3rd person omnicient, I think

MelLane: And an AWESOME book it was, Lyra!

_Lyra: Thanks, Mel

Jim_Phelps: Where can I pick up some of your books Lyra?

_Lyra: From me, Jim (g) or actually listed having #5 CHEER

NOTE: Click on the link above and search the Books catagory for L.J. Singleton to see which of her books are currently available.

_Lyra: And Amazon just got the listings fixed for REGENERATION so it's under L.J. Singleton (finally!)

_Lyra: Once time before I started a new book, I asked a seasoned writer I admired if it was better to write in 3rd person or first and she told me-

_Lyra: She said that it's more challenging and makes a better book to write in 3rd person but make it FEEL like 1st person

MelLane: When you pick your viewpoint, you must remember to stick to it.

good2u: But mel, how can you say that re: staying with pov, when people use more than one in a text??

MelLane: Set a pattern, good... and be consistent...

MelLane: Like don't go from 3rd limited to 1st person on your MC.

Jim_Phelps: I have had some difficulty keeping consistent ( not same) Voice, when POV switches. Has anyone else had this problem?

good2u: Yes Jim

good2u: I need examples of books that do this in every pov, I think

Verla: Hey, good idea, Good. Write a book like that and you will probably become an instant millionaire!

MelLane: LOL, Verla!

good2u: Right verla! LOL

_Lyra: And feel free to use some of my books as examples (g)

DonaV: Jim, I print out head to tail, each separate character's sections, and make sure they're consistent

MelLane: Now, if you're changing characters, then change viewpoints, sure.

Jim_Phelps: Sci-fi does that a lot. The baton of hero changes hands, and the POV goes with it.

good2u: You mean voice, right mel? re: changing character

MelLane: Not really, good.

MelLane: Say you have Josh as a main character, but you also have Sam and Jane.

MelLane: You can change between the 3, but set up a pattern. Like, Josh 1st chapter, Sam 2nd chapter, etc.

good2u: Ok here's how I understand it. The pov should be consistant and the voice should change from character to character. To play it safe

MelLane: Yes, good!

good2u: Thanks mel! Big grin!

good2u: Thanks for the pattern example too!

Jim_Phelps: I would prefer 3rd person limited through say Josh. Then use Sam and Jane's voice through him.

Jim_Phelps: But that is where I am most comfortable, that or 1st person

_Lyra: I would warn against using different viewpoints unless you are telling totally different scenes that can ONLY be told with different people

MelLane: I agree Lyra...

MelLane: If you use 3rd person limited with Josh, then don't change to first person Josh in a different chapter.

MelLane: Don't change around just because you can, change because it makes the story better.

_Lyra: exactly!

good2u: Yes mel! The story is the essence

_Lyra: The reason my editor had me cut the scenes with Chase in #1 is that it only told the scene from HIS viewpoint, it didn't show much new action

good2u: How best to tell the story??

MelLane: And when you change, be careful you're not using the same voice for each character.

Verla: Someone once told me that omniscient viewpoint is like if you are telling a story while floating up in the air where you can see every character, what they are doing and what they are saying. Third person is when you are following a character around, like a spy, watching his every move and recording it for the reader. First person is when you are inside a character's head and cannot see, hear, or talk about anything that your main character can't see, hear, or know.

_Lyra: excellent description, Verla

good2u: I learned stuff like that from screen writing

wusu: good encapsulation, verla

MelLane: Yes, verla, only now there is third person limited... which is closer than third person.

Verla: (Except I still don't entirely understand that one, so I can't really talk about it, can I, mel?)

MelLane: (Yes you can, Verla. You're a very fast learner! )

Jim_Phelps: I like stories that play closer to the hip with the action and the dialog close to the hero or the anti-hero.

Verla: Awk! Only fifteen minutes to go in our workshop!

good2u: oh no!


MelLane: every time you change to a different character, change your voice!

_Lyra: Which can be difficult

_Lyra: When I wrote a boy main character, I was quite worried that he would sound too soft, so I tried to think how my son behaves

Jim_Phelps: I like to "role-play" with my characters so I can get a feel for their voice.

Verla: Oh, what a good idea, Jim!

MelLane: Jim, I like to pretend I'm playing my characters... as in acting out their part...

MelLane: I think that's especially good if you write in first person.

good2u: Yes mel

MishatheWa: Mel don't write about a phycotic killer ok

Verla: LOL, ami!

MelLane: LOL... actually Mish, my next WIP IS about a psycho killer!

MishatheWa: how are you gonna research that one mel? Huh?

MishatheWa: Exhubby around?

Jim_Phelps: ouch

MelLane: GRIN. That's a thought, Mish.

MelLane: I watch PROFILER, Mish.

Jim_Phelps: screeee screeee screee

MelLane: LOL, Jim.

Jim_Phelps: Stay out of the shower ex-hubby type person!

MelLane: What, Jim? I can't practice?

Jim_Phelps: Just don't tell me where the trial runs are buried Mel.

MelLane: I promise. Grin.

MelLane: (Just kidding, folks.)

Verla: (Sure, mel. Sure.)

MelLane: I base some of my characters on the people I know...

MelLane: And read suspense/thrillers.

Jim_Phelps: I find it easier to write if I know the characters as well as my best friend and/or my wife.

DonaV: You can learn about your characters as you write -- and then go back and revise

MishatheWa: good point dona

MelLane: True, Dona... but I found it easier to base the characters on people I know, but change them.

Jim_Phelps: pick up a good text on criminal psychology.

MelLane: The characters my critique group loves are ones based on people I know.

Jim_Phelps: I pick and chose traits from friends and aquaintences for characters.

good2u: I don't read or write thrillers. But I hope my writing is thrilling! LOL

good2u: Real people are more bizarre than fiction. Life is too. I am sure.

_Lyra: good--that's a good point. Things that happen in real life often won't translate to fiction because they're too unbelievable

good2u: I believe that Lyra, for sure without fail.

Jim_Phelps: You must know my family good.

Jim_Phelps: Talk about bizarre

MelLane: I comb the newspaper for the tidbits on people that would make interest characters/stories.

Jim_Phelps: News of the wierd?

good2u: I don't like that column, news of the weird

good2u: I go and teach for a year and find interesting characters.

Verla: Getting back to Viewpoints...

MelLane: So, let's recap how we pick our viewpoints for our stories.

good2u: Yes mel

Jim_Phelps: pray continue mel

MelLane: Most say trial & error. Experiment. Right?

good2u: No idea

Verla: One of the most important things a writer must do is decide what viewpoint to write a story in. I found a really good piece of advice to make that decision was to try to figure out first "Whose story is it?

good2u: Yes

good2u: Good idea. Whose story is it?

MelLane: I loved S. E. Hinton's article in the CWIM.

wusu: ah, very good, verla

Verla: Is it Judy's story? Rob's? Nannie's?

MelLane: She said: "I tell one person's story."

Verla: Or...who is going to see/hear/know the most about this story?

MelLane: And bottom line, that's what good writing does.

MelLane: Tells one person's story.

Verla: It might be a close friend of the person who's story you want to tell...

MishatheWa: Sometimes there are several stories intertwined but you wouldn't see them until you know that one persons story

Verlie: I know I came in late, but is 1st person generally verboten?

Verla: if a main character is going to be in an accident and be in a coma for a third of the book, for instance, you won't want to pick that character to tell the story through, because your reader will miss a third of the action!

MelLane: We determine how we tell it, viewpoint & voice, by deciding what would make the story more believeable, richer and unique.

MishatheWa: you have to find out which story is the most interesting and the strongest

MelLane: No, Verlie...

Jim_Phelps: In the end, shouldn't the sub-plots be resolved at the end as part of the whole story?

Verla: For me, as a reader, they should be, jim.

MelLane: I think so, too, but I just read RANSOM by Lois Duncan, and the subplots weren't resolved.

good2u: Yes Jim. Sub plots roll out of nowhere, and push the plot forward

MelLane: It left me (and my girls) with a slightly unsatisfied feeling.

good2u: For screen writing at least

MelLane: Tie up all loose ends, please... or Mel will go nuts trying to write an ending herself. (g)

good2u: I agree, subplots tie up with the plot

Jim_Phelps: "The Black Dahlia" had many seemingly unrelated sub-plots, but were all neatly tidied up at the end.

good2u: Yes Jim, good storytelling, that worked, for me at least

_Lyra: Mel--pick recent books to study, too -- RANSOM was written a very long time ago

Verla: I get really irritated at loose endings. (So what did I do? Wrote my YA and left it up to the reader's imagination as to whether or not my character contracted a disease at the end of the story or not. Ha ha ha!)

Verla: In my novel, although I leave a major question unresolved, it is not the major question of the book. THOSE questions are all answered. It's just whether or not the girl is going to contract AIDS that is left unresolved. (And of course, there could always be a sequel to the book exploring THAT.) GRIN

Harazin: Verla--those kind of books I throw across the room when I'm done

good2u: Me too hara!

Verla: Hey, hara. So do I!

Verla: I've been known to throw a book down and STOMP on it! (Like The Giver! It was a fantastic book, but I HATED the way it didn't really end!)

Harazin: Yes--The Giver was like that

Deet: verla!~ LOL

good2u: Oh Verla, that ending! The Giver! But it makes us think and argue must have it's merit. Only she could pull it off!

good2u: I know it's a powerful book when I ponder the ending for years, but it's not a good book/story when something is so undone! Maybe that's my culture however.

good2u: Verla, as for the Giver, I am sure that they are hallucinating at the end and they die. There. That's what I think

Harazin: verla--that was Good2U that had that opinion. Personally, I didnt care about the book or what happened after she left the end so open

MelLane: LOL, Hara...

good2u: Hara, what did you think of The Giver??

good2u: I love to teach that book!

Harazin: I enjoyed the book but it bombed at the end

Jim_Phelps: I don't think I have read The Giver.

Harazin: She could have done much better

good2u: Jim, read it!

Harazin: what did you think Good?

_Lyra: I loved The Giver -- and the companion novel with give a glimpse of Jonah

Jim_Phelps: Sounds like SW: Episoded 1. I expected a more dramatic film

good2u: I don't think the Giver's ending is a bomb. It makes me mad still, so if it evokes such an emotion in me after a number of years, for me, there is merit

Eau_de_Pri: Jim, it's an incredible book, you should read it

Jim_Phelps: Who's the author?

MishatheWa: Jim the author of the giver is Lois Lowry

good2u: What's the companion novel Lyra>??????????????????????

good2u: Yes Jim, read it!

good2u: For sure and without fail

MelLane: I want to read the last two chapters again, before I comment.

good2u: Lyra, what's your opinion re: the end of the Giver?

_Lyra: The end of Giver leaves it to the reader to decide whether optimistic or pessimitic

MelLane: I loved it... but I have some comments on the last two chapters... I think.

_Lyra: And Lois Lowry says in her opinion it's a happy ending

MelLane: I want to read them again to be sure.

tem2: Was it too confusing?

tem2: Lots of stuff happen in those chapters.

Harazin: He did, good--It was the surprise at the end that really got me

good2u: Lois Lowry is one amazing author with a tremendous range!

good2u: She writes historical fiction, fantasy, and contemporary ya

good2u: who could ask for more??

Eau_de_Pri: Yes good, her anastasia books are very very funny

good2u: LOL verla. Perhaps novels are your second love too!

MelLane: Hey, I can only get what's on my bookstore's bookshelves.

Verla: Libaries have books, too, mel.

MelLane: Gee, thanks, Verla.

MelLane: But our library doesn't have a YA section.

MelLane: They have 8 YA books (Christian), which I've already read.

_Lyra: I used to love Eve Bunting's midgrade/YA's but in one about SUSAN and another SPYING OF MISS MULLER she left the endings with little explanation

Jim_Phelps: I'm cheap. I thrive on libraries and used book sales.

Jim_Phelps: Has anyone here read "I Robot" by I. Asimov?

Harazin: Jim--I started it once. Never finished it

good2u: Not me Jim

Verla: not me, Jim

DonaV: I read it a long time ago, Jim

Jim_Phelps: I liked the POV and voice in the simple story of "I Robot."

MelLane: So, let me ask this question... and we'll end the workshop with it.

MelLane: In your reading, does the viewpoint standout? Or does it blend with the character? Or do you even notice it?

wusu: hmmm, good question, mel . . . I think my VP's blend with the character, although the voice is distince in most cases

DonaV: Mel, I'm not sure in the current project. It may stand out too much.

MelLane: reading... not writing, Dona.

DonaV: Oops, sorry!

Verla: In a good book, I think you don't even NOTICE the viewpoint. Except in a book like the OZ books, where the narrator of the story is so obvious because he talks TO the reader about the story every so often.

Harazin: Mel, as a writer I notice everything in what I read

MelLane: The books you've read lately...

MelLane: In the BEST ones... do you really notice the viewpoint?

MelLane: Or does it blend with the voice?

MelLane: For me personally, the best books blend the voice & the viewpoint.

good2u: What you said, blend, there

good2u: yes

Jim_Phelps: They intertwine.

wusu: I definitely think the best ones blend, although their are always exceptions . . .

good2u: I get caught up in the story!

good2u: I am the heroine

good2u: the hero

good2u: the maid

MelLane: I recommend you read THOSE books over and over... and see how the writer accomplished that.

MelLane: (me, too, good)

Verla: I thought the same thing, hara. Until I talked to the author and she told lyra and I that they DO live...

good2u: I love Tolstoy!!!!!!!!!

Jim_Phelps: A book can have a perfect POV and still suck because the characters lack voice.

good2u: Or story

Jim_Phelps: Tolstoy is a tad verbose

good2u: or character

good2u: Great story however

good2u: you must admit

good2u: He makes me MAD

good2u: and in love

Jim_Phelps: Even if I hate the characters, I will read a book with a good consistent voice and viewpoint

Verla: Ah...our workshop time is OVER. Sob...

Verla: But this was a very good one, Mel, and I for one, want to say a BIG thank you to you for putting up with everyone's questions and comments (especially my uninformed ones of which I noticed there were way too many!)

MelLane blushes.

MelLane: Thank you, Verla.

wusu: great workshop mel!

wusu: thanks!

Jim_Phelps: Thanks Mel

DonaV: Mel, Very good workshop!

MelLane: EVERYONE made the workshop great...

MelLane: And FUN!

tem2: Thanks, Mel

MelLane: See you guys, later!

MelLane: Goodnight, all!

DonaV: bye Mel

Verla: Hey. This workshop is now officially over, by the way. THANKS MEL!


MelLane: (g)

MishatheWa: thanks Mel

MishatheWa: great job

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Writers & Illustrators of Children's Literature Meet Here Nightly - Welcome! 


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