Myths of the 3rd Person Narrator

Several weeks ago here on Words like Trees, we surveyed a range of common narrative points of view, from character-turned-narrator first person to free indirect style, omniscient, and close third person. In the weeks since, and in particular as I have been making my way slowly (very slowly) through the first volume and a half... Continue Reading →

Choose the Right Point of View for Your Story: Beyond the Basics

First, third, omniscient, limited—point of view (POV) is a global decision we make in every writing project. Like our choice of present or past tense, selecting the right point of view for a story has a powerful impact on the final effect, and it’s worth considering different options before jumping to one choice. Many of... Continue Reading →

Conflict a copout?

I've been working on a short story recently. Unlike most of what I've been writing the last few years, it's solid realism. I didn't expect this to make it a particular challenge for me, but as I have been slogging my way through outlines, a first draft of one-and-a-quarter scenes, doubt has besieged me of... Continue Reading →

Efficient revising: what order is best?

The four faces of revising. Yesterday, I completed a first draft of rewrites to my novel manuscript. It's been three months since I began, thirteen chapters of new material, and copious reworking of the existing. It's a celebration, to be sure, and I'm content to bask in the glory of a milestone passed for a... Continue Reading →

Anatomy of a cliffhanger

They're page-turning. They're nail-biting. They're infuriating. They're everywhere. Cliffhangers, those endings to scenes, chapters, or whole works that create anticipation in the audience, sometimes feel like the bread and butter of modern storytelling televised and written, and as a literary tool they have a long history. Today, let's step back and take their measure. What... Continue Reading →

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