Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Demystifying Deeper POV Part One: Don't Panic!


 I thought today an apt day to start a series with a topic terrifying to a lot of writers…
Do you panic and cringe with anxiety-filled shudders when a critique partner or editor makes a note on your manuscript that there is too much Telling versus Showing…or worse, [insert dark, eerie, crescendo music] lack of Deeper POV?

Don’t worry, because you are not alone—not by a long shot. Many writers struggle with these terms. I remember when I first started, the concept of Telling versus Showing was like a foreign language I just couldn’t grasp, and no one could really decipher it for me, either.

But these concepts don’t have to be scary or big mysteries any longer…and, in fact, I LOVE Deeper POV (Deeper Point of View) because this is essential for endearing readers to your character(s), pulling them into his or her plight, and investing them in your story so much their dinner ends up being late to the table, the laundry gets forgotten, or they stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish your book.

As you can probably tell from my blog, I am a very visual person, so let’s start by breaking down these obscure terms in a more relatable way…

Over the years, I have come to associate Telling to an impartial, omniscient third party that knows all and sees all…like a Fly on the wall simply watching the scene progress. Sitting there gives the Fly a perfect position to see everything, from the main character crying to the protagonist sneaking up behind him/her. To watch and listen to a covert conversation in a diner or in the bedroom of your heroine as she gushes about the handsome cowboy she just met or as they make love for the first time.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Nope, sorry, there is a HUGE problem with that—the Fly is not a character in your story, not even a part of the manuscript. So don’t let this pesky insect Tell the story, either. [Disclaimer: If you are one of the 0.1% of the writing population actually creating a story about a Fly and/or its hundreds of family members then feel free to go with another omniscient subject of your choice. For the purpose of this series, however, the Fly is heading for the sticky paper😁.]

Let me repeat the important fact here, the Fly is not a character in your story—and, unless you are a Fly, it most definitely is not writing the story, either.

Write this down, type it big, make a sticky note on your computer, post it on social media—whatever will help you remember:

The Fly is NOT a character in my story, and the Fly is definitely NOT writing my story.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard the similar term used of Show Don’t Tell. Logically then, if Telling is the Fly you don’t want, then Showing is what you do want, right? So simply ask yourself, if the manuscript isn’t the Fly’s story, then whose story is it?

Your main character’s, of course. And this is why it is soooo important for your main character to Show his or her story.

Let's break it down even a little further...

A Fly just sits on the wall, watching. It simply Tells what it sees—two people talking, someone getting beat up, an argument, or a car crash. Basic action and dialogue—He did this/She said that. Yet, your main character is the one experiencing these moment. He/she has the amazing and unique ability not only to see what is going on, but to feel, think, sense, perceive, theorize, interpret, and most of all REACT internally and externally to these moments/events.

This is the essence of Deeper POV (Deeper Point of View): Showing the specific experience of your character, through your character’s interpretation and reaction.

One more time…
Deeper POV is Showing 
the experience through your character.

This experience, this reaction/interpretation specifically from the main character then is Showing, which, essentially, is the same as Deeper POV.

And, since your character is the one experiencing the moment, he/she has far more details to offer the reader than a Telling Fly—sensory details, internal and external details, attitude, fears, emotions and perspective. Better yet, as each person reacts differently to an event depending on his or her life experiences, Deeper POV is unique and specific to each individual character.

For example, a woman with an abusive past will react differently to a relationship than one raised by two loving parents, or to a woman bullied for her unbecoming appearance in high school, or another raised by a single parent or an elderly grandparent, or any number of different scenarios as each person views their own upbringing differently. Or, setting down a fully cooked, whole lobster in front of one person may get a wide-eyed, drooling grin while another will wrinkle their nose at the offensive fishy odor, cringe, and back away (me!). And this is Deeper POV in a nutshell—describing the moment from your character’s specific perception/experience/sensory details/reactions…and not from an impartial Fly narrator sitting on the wall above everything. Because, remember, as the Fly is not writing the manuscript or a character in your story, then it should not have a point of view.

So, to sum up today:

Telling = what a Fly sees

Showing = what your character experiences 
(being his or her Deeper POV)

But, we are not done yet!

Over the next three Writing Wednesdays, I will continue to Demystify Deeper POV by showing you how to spot that Telling Fly and give you specific tips, tricks, and examples to stop the pest from sabotaging your manuscript. Building strong, character-driven stories will not only engage your readers in the full experience but draw them in and keep them eagerly turning the pages to the very end (not to mention wanting to grab up more of your titles).

Between now and next week, take a few minutes and go over a page of your manuscript--I know it will be hard, but try to step back and read it as a reader would (not knowing anything but what is on that page), then ask yourself, “Whose story is this?” Is it an easy question to answer by just the paragraphs you read? Do you know who the main POV character is right away? Are you experiencing the moment with the character (feeling the chills, the fear, the annoyance, the heartache, the nervousness, the quickening of new love, the stinging scrape across skin or scorched hiss of a burn), or are you just being Told the basic actions and dialogue by a Fly sitting on the wall narrating what it sees?

Now, don’t panic if you’re worried it might be the darned Fly…because we are just getting started! Get your fly swatters ready, because we are going to SWAT THAT FLY right out of your manuscript!

Join me for Demystifying Deeper POV Part Two: Me, Myself, and Fly.

Also, feel free to leave a comment and spread the word to join us here for some good old fashion swatting practice!

All content ©bystacydawn

☮ Visit me on social media and at my website~links on the side 💟

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Have you seen this con-artist?!?

Don't let its size fool you!  This con-artist is wanted for impersonating an author and stealing the identify of your characters--if you see it, SWAT IT!  Beware, this crafty crook is sneaky, so don't worry if you can't find him buzzing through your manuscript because I have a full supply of fly swatters at the ready just for you...

Join me Halloween day for the first in my four part series:

 Deeper POV and Telling vs Showing will no longer be obscure, scary concepts for writers as I show you how to take back your manuscript from this pesky identity thief.

Please feel free to tell your friends and fellow authors, critique partners and writing groups to join me on October 31st for the first installment.

The mystery will finally be solved, and I can assure you...

someone won't be getting out alive...


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website~links on the side 💟

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Are you ready to finally solve the mystery?

One of the biggest mysteries for writers is about to be solved in a four week blog series starting Halloween Day!  Why Halloween?  Because I am going to demystify the scariest words to writers....

I am so excited to put together this special event that I hope will help both new and established authors finally take the fear out of these obscure terms in order to create a manuscript screaming to be read!

Please feel free to tell your friends and fellow authors, critique partners and writing groups to join me on October 31st for the first installment.

The mystery will finally be solved, and I can assure you...
someone won't be getting out alive...


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side 💟

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Mission accepted!

Next year marks a milestone birthday for me, so I have decided to take the reins and give myself a mission...a weight loss goal equal to my age 😲.  As I just celebrated my birthday late last month, that gives me a full year to complete.

In reality, it is very manageable, I just have to find some discipline and a bit more willpower where sweets are concerned 😍.  But I have been making small changes over the last couple months, which is why I am encouraged that I can do this!

Oh, and pop back for Writing Wednesday because I will have a fun hint to the blog series I will be starting at the end of the month to help a LOT of writers.


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side 💟

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wednesday Writing Tip: Is your story Timeless...or Dated?

Today's tip is to be careful of references that can date your manuscript.

Using brand names, the hottest musical artist, movie stars or movies, can come back to haunt your sales.

Just because a rock star has the biggest hit of the year doesn't mean they are going to have any more.  And five years from now it is, unfortunately, possible no one will remember their name.

That goes for social media sites, too.  In this day and age, the internet changes constantly.  Do you remember Myspace?  It was all the rage 12 or so years ago, everyone was on it and talking about it, and it was everywhere etc.  But you don’t hear about it anymore, right?  

Sure, Facebook seems strong now, but who is to say something won’t happen in the next five years to take it off the internet for the next best thing that comes along?

The issue with using specific brands, businesses, and people is not only concerns with copyright and other legalities, but more importantly, when a reader picks up your backlist ten years from now, using specific-to-the-moment references like Facebook or a one hit wonder artist whose name no one can remember, really dates your story, putting it back in time when it isn't meant to be a vintage or historical.

Readers picking up your back list in the future are not going to be the same people of today, so it is important whenever possible, and when not pertinent to your story, to keep non-important details neutral, generic, so your story can stay as contemporary as possible for any reader to pick up at any time in the future.

The less specific, year orientated details, the longer the story will last in the mind of the reader and new readers years from now.  You want them to recommend your book today, but also those readers of the future to continue to recommend your back list to their friends and coworkers so your sales can keep moving forward and not stall out on you because your story is too out of date.

Going generic when the specific details are not important won't hurt your story and will only help it to stay timeless.


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side 💟

Sunday, October 07, 2018

I'm trying to be...

This has been one of those weeks when life throws you a couple road boulders tumbling down the mountain so you have to veer off the road to go around them.  

That doesn't always lead to tranquil days...BUT, I've been proud of myself because I chose to take a more positive outlook while dealing with the issues, and I really think I managed and came out better overall.  And today, I do feel more like Gertie above.

Gertie is my theme for Inktober over on my Instagram.  This is my first year participating, and though I'm keeping it simple because of my work schedule, I'm taking my own fun approach and thoroughly enjoying myself.  Feel free to pop over and see what Gertie gets up to this month! 


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side 💟

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

There or Their?

I saw a picture like this on social media the other week and thought it was hilarious and such an easy way to help remember. Perfect share for Writing Wednesday.

I don't remember exactly where I saw it, so if you know or are the one who started this, just let me know and I will be more than HAPPY to give credit for this awesome and fun interpretation!


☮ I'd love to have you visit me on social media and at my website! Links on the side 💟