Tag Archive - motivation

The Intersection of Voice and Deep POV

When writers talk about “voice,” they are usually referring to an author’s style of writing. Agents use this definition too. I’ve written about this before, as I feel this designation is off, and often confusing.

In this age of writing in deep POV—meaning, each scene in fiction is coming “through” a particular character, in that every word of the scene is her thoughts, observations, sensory experiences, and opinions. Since that’s the case, that means the entire scene has to be in that character’s “voice,” not the author’s.

This is a huge problem I see in most of the manuscripts I edit and critique. The author’s writing style supercedes the indivual POV characters’ voices such that they all sound the same, use the same vocabulary and syntax, and, essentially come across as clones of one another. Which wouldn’t be a problem if the premise of their novel was about a group of clones. But I haven’t seen that premise cross my desk yet.

What this means is, if you have three POV characters in your novel, the scenes for each one need to read and feel quite different from the other. I should be able to randomly open up a novel I’ve just read (now familiar with the characters) and easily tell, without reading the name, whose POV the scene is in.

Continue Reading…

How Does Internal Conflict Fit into the Character’s Arc?

Today’s guest post is by Becca Puglisi.

If you’re writing a story in which your character will need to evolve internally to achieve his goal, a cohesive and well-planned character arc will be vital to its success. This type of arc (a change arc) requires internal conflict, which will provide opportunities for your character to adapt and grow.

But first, let’s quickly summarize what the change arc is and what it looks like.

At their heart, most stories boil down to a simple formula: It’s a story about A (the character) who wants B (goal/outer motivation) because Y (inner motivation). That Y explains why the character so desperately wants to achieve the goal. If you look at the movie Groundhog Day, Phil Connors (A) wants to win Rita’s love (B) so he can find meaning in an utterly meaningless life (Y). This example shows how the character’s outer and inner motivations work together in the story.

The outer conflict is the main external thing keeping the character from his goal. Phil’s conflict comes in the form of the supernatural forces that have him reliving the same day over and over, making it virtually impossible to get Rita to fall in love with him. Continue Reading…

Crafting Great Characters Starts and Ends with Motivation

This material ran on my blog four years ago, but it’s worth sharing again!

Most fiction writers know that character is at the heart of a story. Whether you are writing short or long fiction, you need terrific characters.

But what’s in a character? And how much do you need to know about your characters before you start writing?

The depth of detail you develop for your characters may vary. It stands to reason that you aren’t going to put as much work into crafting minor characters as you would major ones. And the most important character—your protagonist—should have the most depth.

How deep should you go? That’s a good question. Some writers spend months working on a character: her looks, her history, her family, her issues. But often the details a writer works up are trivial details. Continue Reading…

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