Thursday, November 17, 2011

Aggh! This is what I was talking about...partly

You know how I mentioned yesterday that established traditional publishing people seem to be just as locked into a shallow, "editing makes it better" idea of craft as unskilled indies?

I saw a link to a post about "deep point of view." I am extremely interested in point of view issues. It's one of those issues which I have studied since I was in grad school, and still feel there is so much more to learn. (I won't tell you how long it has been since grad school.)

So I clicked eagerly on this link. I didn't expect a dissertation. Even some shallow insight can be useful....

And I found the author actually didn't know what deep point of view was. She thought the difference was editing. Take out the "he thought" or "she felt" phrases in a sentence and voila, it's different!

No no no no no no no NO!

I'm not against taking out "he thought" or "she felt." They're not necessary, and depending on narrative voice and sentence clarity, you probably want to cut most of them out.

But by themselves they don't actually affect the voice or the reading or the immediacy of the sentence. They're like tag lines; mostly invisible to the audience, except they are so frequent they clutter up the story and dilute the voice.

But weeding them out is editing, not voice. It's not a matter of substance, and it will not give you more control over your point of view.

But there's also a Yes yes yes yes YES.

Later in the article, the author actually did get into substantive things. Once you get to the part headed "Inside Out, Outside In" her advice is good. I don't agree with all of it, but she tells you about how to write in the voice of a character, and that is incredibly important to deep points of view.

So here's the link: What is Deep POV?

This inspires me to write more about the theory behind point of view, and how, like tense, a lot of smart people get it wrong. But not now.

See you in the funny papers.


David Michael said...

See? This is what I miss by not taking creative writing classes and just, you know, *writing* stuff. I don't use the proper vocabulary to describe what I'm doing. ;-)

I write "deep POV", because I like telling the story from inside the head of a character. Her viewpoint is the one I find interesting and want to explore, not just what happens to her. But I never called it that.

I always referred to that approach as "third-person stream-of-consciousness"--that is, when I bothered to call it anything. Not SOC as practiced by Joyce, of course, just following the viewpoint character through her thoughts and reflections and observations as well as what she does.

Reminds me of my story-a-day project back in 2006, when I was nearly 6 months in before I learnd my little 500-1000 word stories were now called "flash fiction" instead of "short short stories" (at least on the shorter end).

Vocabulary. I guess I learned something new today. :-)


The Daring Novelist said...

Yep. Vocabulary is supposed to be there to help communication.

I like your "stream of consciousness" comparison -- though as you pointed out, it can easily be confused with the style of writing.