Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Discovery in Fiction

The other day I wrote about one of my bad habits I often revert to in my writing--head hopping. I tend to enjoy writing from the viewpoint of every character in the book, whether major player or one scene wonder. In writing for publication, this isn't a good practice.

A friend posted a comment that explained much better than I could about why this is a poor practice. She wrote that head hopping holds you back in selling. And here's why. "When you write from only one POV, you are forced to discover the story as the character does. It builds suspense and makes the discovery a page turner."

Wonderfully put, Elizabeth.

Discovery in anything--whether suspense, romance, or a weather report--is what keeps people tuned in. The reader needs to care where the story is headed and how you will get there. Head hopping provides too much information too quickly.

During read-thru's this morning of my current ms I found a spot late in the book where a character explained something that the narrator "ME" had divulged in the fourth chapter. That's sloppy writing. The information came across much better when relayed through a character with a big mouth and an unforgiving nature than by my shrieking voice in the background.

Editing can be fun and informative. Don't marry your prose. Chances are you will find something that totally bites and you'll have to begin the painful process of separating yourself from it. Approach editing, red pen in hand and prepared to hate everything. You may surprise yourself and find you have a modicum of talent after all.

Of course you can't believe a word I say. I still like Omniscient POV in small doses: "Little did he know..."

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