Thursday, January 29, 2015

Steering the Craft, Exercise 7: POV

Been feeling exhausted due to my day job I guess (perhaps fighting off the hint of sickness as well?), and gotten distracted by several reads (this week I've been focused on The Scar by China Mieville, The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti, Ebb Tide by Thad Wind, and my listen to The Scar by Marina Dyachenko and Sergey Dyachenko - all great reads, will try to give them decent reviews when I finish them up) - I suppose I should get a Goodreads widget on this blog - but I am looking forward to getting a draft done for the next Steering The Craft exercise. I really like the next one: it has the writer write the same scene from several different POVs. Certainly could be used as an excellent brainstorming method, or character/setting/scene development technique, to use on current works-in-progress (which I admit is exactly what I've been using pretty much all of these exercises for thus far), but I decided to make up something completely new for this exercise. Was thinking something in the horror genre, but it looks like it may end up more odd sci-fi than anything dark or horrific. There's still time for it to warp though, so we'll have to wait and see. Tomorrow night should lend me plenty of writing time to make up for a busy week.

For now, the details on the exercise (there was a lot more detail on the POVs in the book that I would recommend reading - I found them all very concise and understandable explanations and examples):

Exercise Seven: POV (page 91 of Steering the Craft)

Think up a situation for a narrative sketch of 200-350 words. It can be anything you like, but should involve several people doing something. (Several means more than two. More than three will be useful.) It doesn’t have to be a big, important event, though it can be; but something should happen, even if only a cart-tangle at the supermarket, a wrangle around the table concerning the family division of labor, or a minor street-accident….
Please use little or no dialogue in these POV exercises. While the characters talk, their voices cover the POV, and so you’re not exploring that voice, which is the point of the exercise.

Part One: Two Voices
First: Tell your little story from a single POV – that of a participant in the event – an old man, a child, a cat, whatever you like. Use limited third person.
Second: Retell the same story from the POV of one of the other people involved in it. Again, use limited third person.
As we go on into the next parts of this exercise, if your little scene or situation or story runs dry, invent another one along the same lines. But if the original one seems to keep turning up new possibilities in different voices, just go on exploring them through it. That will be the most useful, informative way to do the exercise.

Part Two: Detached Narrator
Tell the same story using the detached author or “fly on the wall” POV.

Part Three: Observer-Narrator
If there wasn’t a character in the original version who was there but was not a participant, only an onlooker, add such a character now. Tell the same story in that character’s voice, in first or third person.

Part Four: Involved Author
Tell the same or a new story using the involved author POV.

Part Four may require you to expand the whole thing, up to two or three pages, 1000 words or so. [Le Guin explained further about needs of Involved Author and gave interesting examples – check out the book for that, or comment and I’ll discuss what I read].

'k, before I crash, I will share the first two paragraphs of written brainstorming leading up to whatever the first draft will be. This will likely be cut by the end of the first draft (likely posted on here within 2-3 days), so lucky you getting to see behind the scenes. Heh.

Exercise 7, Part 1,1, Brainstorming to First Draft:

Syr didn’t start freaking out about Valliny’s honestly brief absence (she hadn’t returned any calls or texts for nearly two days now) until she realized the infamy of this Draedae character. She’d heard the name before, it had touched her with a leery apprehension she hadn’t been able to shake, which eventually led her to slip into an obsessive deluge of internet investigation into the man’s background, taking out a notepad and jotting down a list of the random subjects and industries he was involved with: some were more tame such as stocks, banking, self-help literature, diner chains, ecosystems research and development; there were four related to an e-zine he contributed to that grabbed her attention: body improvement, psychological transformation, shamanism, transhumanism, and cybernetics.

It was odd enough; she shut off her computer screen and called Mate, a friend to both Syr and Valliny. They agreed it was best to figure out where the hell their friend was right away. After all, they really needed to catch her up on their own lives, not to mention she probably would need their help getting this guy off her back.

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