19 November 2014

#Editing Tip 3: Reading A Writer's Mind

Continuing the series running concurrent with #NaNoWriMo, here is another question a writer should ask of a short story or section of a novel:

Does your story stay with the chosen viewpoint and distance?

Third person or first person viewpoint makes little difference. Almost everything that is seen or occurs should be filtered through the viewpoint character’s thoughts or senses. Omniscient viewpoint is a trap marked “Authorial”, and it is all too easy to cross the dividing line. Is this story about your characters or how you feel about your characters? Get off the page and let them do their own thing. 

If readers start a story close in to the third person viewpoint character, sharing his every thought, keep to that distance, don’t push readers to arm’s length during action sequences. If you have difficulty keeping so close in, return to the opening and match the distance to that used later in the story. The flow should be smooth, part of a single whole. Nothing irritates readers more than working their way through a text to discover near the end that the viewpoint character has been hiding a pivotal nugget of information when all else has been shared with the reader.

Check out other posts in this November series:
#Editing Tip 1: Does your story start in the right place?
#Editing Tip 2: Is your story overloaded with description?

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