I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

NaNoWriMo Tips

I taught a class at my church earlier this year about how to write a novel. I've been reviewing my notes in preparation for NaNoWriMo and I thought I'd share a few tips with you if you've never written a novel but are planning to participate in the event.

After you have your characters and basic plot in mind, you either need some sort of outline or at least an idea of where you are going--otherwise you are going to include scenes that aren't pertinent to the plot. And the only reason for including a scene is to advance the plot.

Once you are ready to begin writing, you need to decide which point of view (POV) you are going to write in. Each particular scene is told in one of the following POVs:

First person (I): Told from one particular character's point of view and includes only what that particular character thinks, sees, hears, tastes, touches, and feels. In other words, you as the author can't jump inside of another character's skin to show what he or she is thinking, seeing, hearing, etc. You can show what another character is experiencing by the way he or she acts, but that's it.

You can switch from one character's POV to another in a different scene, but never in the same scene when in the first person. First person POV is very intimate, but difficult to advance in your story since you sometimes have to put your characters in awkward situations (e.g. overhearing hear a conversation or seeing something he or she wouldn't normally see). 

Second person (you): Author addresses the protagonist as "you" as if the protagonist were having a conversation with himself. This is extremely difficult to pull off and not really used unless the protagonist is speaking to a younger version of himself--maybe in letter or journal form.

Third person limited (we): Author speaks for what one character per scene thinks, sees, hears, tastes, touches, and feels. As the author you can switch from one character's POV to the next in third person limited, but never in the same scene. So, for example, the reader can only know about one particular character's thoughts, sights, etc. in each scene. The reader might be able to tell what another character thinks, sees, hears, etc. by that character's actions, but not because the reader is in his or her head. If you've never written a novel before, third person limited might be the way to go. 

Third person objective (we): Author narrates the story and writes about what can be heard or seen from outside of the characters (we). In other words, the narrator doesn't know the thoughts, sights, tastes, etc. of the characters except by their actions. The narrator sees everything that is going on, but he or she can't tell you what is going on inside of a character. Third person objective is hard to pull off. 

Third person omniscient (we): Author narrates the story from various characters' perspectives and the narrator knows everything--including the thoughts and feelings of any character…and the author often intrudes with subjective thoughts. This is convenient, but impersonal and hard to follow unless it's done extremely well.

If I get a chance, I'll post more later about scene structure.


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