Exercise 7, part 2 and 3: The Mountain Lion Killing

Last week, I introduced Ursula Le Guin’s exercise for chapter 7, which is her chapter on point of view. This week, she has us using the same story from last week (if possible) to explore less common POVs. I found I was able to use my story from last week and keep it going – so we are back in the campground with a freshly dead Mountain Lion.

To review Le Guin’s exercise instructions:
Exercise 7: Points of View

Think up a situation for a narrative sketch of 200-350 words. It can be anything you like but should involve several people doing something. (Several means more than two. More than three will be useful.) It doesn’t have to be a big, important event, though it can be; but something should happen, even if only a cart tangle at the supermarket…

Please use little or no dialogue in these POV exercises. While the characters talk, their voices cover the POV, and so you’re not exploring that voice, which is the point of the exercise.

Part 1: Two Voices
POV was Third Person Limited, two versions, two different characters. (If you’d like to see what that looked like for my teeny tiny story, go here.)

Part 2: Detached Narrator
Tell the same story using the detached author or “fly on the wall” POV.

Part 3: Observer-Narrator
If there wasn’t a character in the original version who was there but was not a participant, only an onlooker, add such a character now. Tell the same story in that character’s voice, in first or third person.”
Steering the Craft, Pages 71-73

Continue reading “Exercise 7, part 2 and 3: The Mountain Lion Killing”

Exercise 7: POV – The Mountain Lion Killing

Ursula Le Guin talks about how points of view in fiction come and go in popularity, with first person and limited third person all the rage for the last 100 years or so. I had never thought of point of view as a “fad” (even if a relatively long lived fad), but I guess that all depends on your point of view!

Her goal with chapter and exercise 7 is to define and get you to experiment with different kinds of point of view, especially ones you are not comfortable with. The exercise starts out with the one of the POVs currently in style, limited third person, and then expands to other less common POVs.

For this one, I’m telling a tale that was told to me at a work happy hour. It was related as a true story, but you know how happy hour stories go…

Continue reading “Exercise 7: POV – The Mountain Lion Killing”

Exercise 6, Part 2: The Old Woman

This is the second part of Exercise 6 from Ursula Le Guin’s Steering the Craft book.  To recap: Chapter 6 was about verbs, specifically dealing with person and tense. This serves as a prelude to chapter 7, which is a long (and intimidating!) chapter on point of view.  My take on this exercise has an old woman wandering around the remains of her house after a fire and remembering a different disaster that struck when she was a child.

The prompt: “Exercise Six: The Old Woman

This should run to a page or so; keep it short and not too ambitious, because you are going to write the same story twice.

The subject is this: An old woman is busy doing something – washing the dishes, or gardening, or editing a PhD dissertation in mathematics, whatever you like – as she thinks about an event that happened in her youth.

You’re going to intercut between the two times. “Now ” is where she is and what’s she’s doing; “then” is her memory of something that happened when she was young. Your narration will move back and forth between “now” and “then.”

You will make at least two of these moves or time jumps.

Continue reading “Exercise 6, Part 2: The Old Woman”

Exercise 6, Part 1: The Old Woman

Back at it with Exercise 6 from Ursula Le Guin’s Steering the Craft book. Chapter 6 was about verbs, specifically dealing with person and tense. This serves as a prelude to chapter 7, which is a long chapter on point of view.  I have to admit I procrastinated on this exercise – and I did so for a reason that surprised me! First, though, the prompt:

“Exercise Six: The Old Woman

This should run to a page or so; keep it short and not too ambitious, because you are going to write the same story twice.

The subject is this: An old woman is busy doing something – washing the dishes, or gardening, or editing a PhD dissertation in mathematics, whatever you like – as she thinks about an event that happened in her youth.

You’re going to intercut between the two times. “Now ” is where she is and what’s she’s doing; “then” is her memory of something that happened when she was young. Your narration will move back and forth between “now” and “then.”

You will make at least two of these moves or time jumps.

Continue reading “Exercise 6, Part 1: The Old Woman”

Following that Narrative Thought

My writing pace has slowed down a bit in recent days, and for once, I don’t mean in pure word count.

Maybe a week ago I completed a longer chapter centered on one’s character’s POV. I knew how I wanted the chapter to go, it just took a lot of writing time and words to get there.

I’ve since moved on to the next chapter with my favorite character–Arden–and I think my writing style has shifted a bit. Continue reading “Following that Narrative Thought”

Using Side Characters to Provide Perspective

Perspective can be one of the most important aspects of writing an in-depth, detailed narrative, especially when world building is a big part of your writing.

World building is the reason I started writing.

So, that means sometimes I want to write about the story underneath the plot–the cultural or historical context, even if it just pertains to one character’s arc. Continue reading “Using Side Characters to Provide Perspective”

NaNo Re-Hash: The Little People Still Matter!

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I published an earlier version of this article, “The Little People Matter Too!”, way back in 2014, but since it only has 15 total views, I’ve decided to revisit it and update it a bit. This was among my first “Creativity Sessions” pieces, and I think its themes still ring true as I begin exploring a new story this November. I wil post more of these re-hashes through NaNo 2016 (and likely beyond) with some new insights and thoughts to share.

As I discussed last Friday, I have entered NaNoWriMo 2016 with a much more solid foundation to begin a new novel. While WoE: Memento was largely experimental, with ideas and narrative points coming to me as I wrote, I have been much more structured in my approach to the follow-up novel, The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy. Continue reading “NaNo Re-Hash: The Little People Still Matter!”

Creativity Sessions: Questions to Ask Your Alpha Readers

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I’ve been discussing the revision process for Manuscript: Alpha of The Warden of Everfeld: Memento since completing the first draft way back in July. (That really does feel so much longer ago than two months…)

Since my alpha readers are nearly finished with their reviews, and I am (basically) finished with my own first read-through, I thought I would share the actual questions I typed up for my alpha readers to answer. Continue reading “Creativity Sessions: Questions to Ask Your Alpha Readers”

Creativity Sessions: Inner Monologues and Deductions

I love the concept of the inner monologue in writing, probably because I’m constantly up in my own head with thoughts and ideas that I might not express vocally. In writing, though, I think it has to be used delicately. Continue reading “Creativity Sessions: Inner Monologues and Deductions”