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Creative Writing Activity Suggestion: The Perspective Hop


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Hi Guys!

 

I had an idea for a creative writing exercise - hope Renee/Wayne dont mind me suggesting one!

 

This is something I came up with whilst working with another author on their story Posted Image

 

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So before we begin, pick 3 characters from one of your stories.

 

E.g. i would choose Semyaza as character one, Pharzuph as character two and Cheryl as character three - All characters from Trust me... i'm an Angel.

 

The Challenge:

 

Part 1: Some authors have issues with using multiple perspectives without realising it. So my challenge is to write a 200-300 word flash story from the perspective of Character One. Make sure it contains information, at some point, that several other characters would know.

 

Part 2: Simple enough. But then after writing this section: rewrite the same section from the perspective of Character Two - but using the same information.

 

Part 3: The final part to this exercise, is to take Character Three and get them to recount the information - but to both of the characters with them responding and thinking. Also, this must be written in third person perspective. Not from the character, but from the narrative voice.

 

**

 

Part 1 challenges the author to write from 1st person perspective.

 

Part 2 challenges the author to write from 1st person perspective, but delves a little deeper into skills.

 

Part 3 challenges the author to use this information in 3rd person, but also through the eyes of a character. This part challenges the perspective hop - making sure you dont talk from the perspective of the characters, even though it feels natural to do so.

 

One thing you may notice is with each part: your sections get longer and longer! Posted Image

 

Have fun with this one! I'm going to have a go later on! Posted Image

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I'm always happy to see someone post a new idea here. However, while this makes an interesting exercise to show your writing abilities we do want to make everyone aware that section three is not something that would be welcomed in the publishing world. All writing prompts should help you expand your writing potential and give you the chance to grow. The first two would be great on their own, but the third causes an issue. This suggestion does help an author show different sides of the same issue, but we just want to make sure nothing you do would make your work less desirable by any publishing company. The third form of writing is called Author Narrative. If you have any questions about that feel free to ask Renee who has had issues trying to get her work published because of the use of it. Renee and I encourage anyone to come forward with ideas to share to just run the idea past us first. We would like to make sure any idea is going to encourage growth and help to make the writing stronger as well as be accepted universally if you decide to publish later on.

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I haven't read Tom Clancy. I did go to Amazon and pulled up the book in question and from the excerpts it gives, it does appear to be Author Narrative. Like with most things in life, there are exceptions to the rules. All I can give is my own experience. I submitted a story to a publisher and it was rejected, not because of content. Not because of the characters or the storyline, but because of Author Narrative. I am including the portion of the email I received so that you can see exactly what it was that the publisher said and realize why we suggest steering away from the use of Author Narrative.

 

Unfortunately, PD is rejecting your story for publication at this time. It is a great storyline with a great set of characters, but you have an issue that it common amongst writers. You put too much narrative in your story - which is a way an author tends to take over the story and not let the characters tell and act the story out for the reader. Believe in your characters, let them tell the story, and trust them with the story. You need to work on your narrative, but otherwise it is a great idea and a great early draft of your work.

That is my experience with the use of Author Narrative and Publishers.

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Since becoming published I have worked with a number of professional editors and have come to the realisation that editing and publishing are just as subjective as writing and reading. Some editors insist that you remove every 'that' in sight from your work. Others insist that you interfere with the flow if you do. Some editors tell you that you've too much description, some not enough. Some demand no adverbs at all others feel that a sprinkling adds flavour. Head hopping seems to be a capital offence... until it isn't. There are articles on all of these on blogs across the world from better known and lesser known writers and they all say different things. That's the backdrop against which writers write and seek publication.

 

I've adopted the attitude of looking for the most popular train of thought on each issue, as long as it's compatible with the way I write. (No I'm not going to get rid of all my adverbs, obviously). I don't think really it's a case of what's 'right' or 'wrong' but what's 'in' at the moment. I've seen great works by great writers that commit all the cardinal sins. I think it's a matter of slogging away until you're name's well enough known you don't have to stick to the rules anymore

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I'd just like to throw in my two cents :)

 

I suggested the activity to try to get people to work outside their comfort zones within creative writing skills. Not as an idea to get something that is publishable. Potraying information that the characters know and them actually 'learning' is a difficult thing to grasp and alot of the time not even the best authors can manage to pull it off effectively without a hitch.

 

Author Narrative is an interesting topic because alot of books that I have read and have been influenced by use said style.

 

Harry Potter is the first one that comes to mind: Alot of the time the narrator will come in and interupt with ideas or concepts. She does that for 7 books :P And she's one of the best selling authors that have ever lived :P

 

So its not a case of that it is wrong or not good to use because authors have great sucess using it :)

 

Then again, I will admit alot of my stuff uses Author Narrative simply because the story line would be way too long without it. Take Womans Game for example: If i didn't use the narrators voice at some points - they would still be stuck on like page thirty wondering what to do with themselves with this new world leader :P

 

I feel that the ideas that I suggested also not only develop skills; They also allow authors to get to know their characters better. If they don't know the answer to a situation - doing a short role play exercise like this could help them get out of a tight jam :)

 

Not all things must develop 'publishability'; they also need to work on the skills ground before writing can even begin :)

 

Sorry my english degree (well working towards!) kicked in there :P

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