I’ve just started teaching an online course with the Odyssey writing program, and it should surprise no one here that the course is on “Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot.” As most of you know, point of view is kind of an obsession for me. I think it lies at the heart of all storytelling. You can do a Magical Words search of “Coe, point of view,” and you’ll get enough hits to keep you reading for hours . . .
In talking about point of view, I also can’t help but talk about character and the process I use to develop the characters I use, primary and secondary, in my own work.
One of the things I like to do when coming up with a character’s history and/or life circumstances, is give that person a secret of some sort. Any secret at all will do. It […]
Continue reading Quick-Tip Tuesday: The Power of Secrets
I’m sure that some of you saw the title of this post and groaned. I have written about point of view on this site quite a bit. I talk about point of view on panels and in writing workshops all the time. I have said again and again that, to my mind, point of view is the single most important narrative tool we have at our disposal, because it brings together character development AND plot AND setting. How does it do this? By coloring all that our readers experience with the emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and knowledge of our point of view characters. You’ve heard all of this before, and many of you are probably sick to death of it. Sorry. But it really is important . . .
I’m not going to give you the whole “Here’s why I care so much about point of view” thing today. I’m sure […]
Continue reading David B. Coe: Point of View, Voice, and the Choices We Make
Two years ago, I went to my first ConCarolinas and had the great good fortune to meet several of the MagicalWords.net authors, as well as several fans and MW participants. One group of us in particular really hit it off and agreed to meet up again the next year. At the end of *that* con, as Melanie described, our final gathering resulted in “let’s have a writers’ retreat next year”. Like you do.
Imagine my surprise – all of our surprise, I think – as we started trading emails and beginning to discuss plans, and everyone remained enthusiastic. Along the way, a couple of people had to withdraw from the retreat itself for different reasons, but they stayed active and encouraging in the discussions all the same.
And what a real thrill to learn that Faith would be able to join us, both for some much needed post-con […]
Continue reading Writer’s Retreats — Our Thoughts, Part Two
I love doing the puzzles in my local newspaper. (Kids, newspapers are collections of paper that are delivered to your home each morning. They include all the interesting stuff that you saw on Twitter and YouTube yesterday . . .) I do the Sudoku, the crossword, and, my favorite, the Cryptoquote. The Cryptoquote is that puzzle that gives you an encoded quote; you have to figure out what each letter represents to discover the quote and its author. I bring this up, because this week I solved a puzzle and discovered one of the best quotes I’d ever heard. It’s from Miles Kington, the late British journalist:
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
Yes, this does have something to do with writing. In fact, it has everything to do with writing. This site offers a lot of knowledge, and, […]
Continue reading On Writing: Knowledge Versus Wisdom
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about point of view and the ways in which it could help us address nearly all the narrative problems we face when writing. In comments to the post, Donald “SagaBlessed” Kirby, mentioned that making our dialog feel natural can sometimes be difficult, which is absolutely true.
More to the point, of all the writing problems that point of view can help us address, perhaps none is better suited to a POV solution than that of contrived dialog. Frankly, I can’t believe I left it out of my previous post.
Here at MW, we’ve discussed dialog quite a bit over the years, and I’m going to do my best not to cover the same ground in this post. This is not a post about how to write dialog, or how to make the spoken words themselves sound natural. (Carrie did this very well […]
Continue reading On Writing: Creative Intersections — Point of View and Dialog
I recently had dinner with several writers who were attending a week long writing workshop, and the conversation turned to what each of them felt they needed to work on. One of the writers brought up that she was struggling with “deep POV” and several of the other writers mentioned struggling with that as well. A few mentioned having felt like they’d “gotten it” only to have crit partners tell them they hadn’t gone far enough.
So they asked me: how do you deepen POV? I asked them for examples of what they meant by deep POV, and they mentioned Cut by Patricia McCormick and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Which are both intensely emotional, issue-centric, contemporary stories with very deep and personal POVs. However, the writer asking me about POV was working on a middle grade action adventure book, which means it will almost definitionally have a very different […]
Continue reading On deep POV
I have written about point of view many times before. A couple of years ago I did a whole series of posts on it, and one of my “Creative Intersections” posts earlier this year dealt with POV as it related to worldbuilding.
But here I am again writing about POV, and there is a reason for this. During the course of the summer, I attended several conventions, and I also taught a writers’ workshop up in Calgary. And it seemed that at every turn I would bring one writing issue or another back to POV. It happened so often, that I began to rethink one of my own foundational beliefs about writing. I have said for years that I believe character to be the single most important element of successful storytelling. I realize now that this is not quite true. To my mind, the most important element of storytelling is […]
Continue reading On Writing: Solving Writing Problems with Point of View