To all my US readers, Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else, um, happy Thursday! (Wow, what a concept.)
Before I sign off for the weekend, there’s one last question to answer:
J Parker Haynes wrote:
Let’s say we have a story with only two characters of consequence. In keeping with current events, let’s call them Obama and Hillary. Now we’re writing this story entirely from Obama’s POV. Must every Goal/Conflict/Disaster be Obama’s, or can some be Hillary’s as seen from Obama’s POV? Or is there something I’m not seeing and this is a stupid question?
Randy sez: What ridiculous names these characters have! Nobody names their kid Obama or Hillary. Where did you get these? 🙂
Typically, you want the disaster to be a disaster for your POV character. That’s one strength of multi-POV stories–you can spread the disasters around more evenly. Of course, not every scene can end in a disaster. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your POV character has a victory in a given scene. But you can always try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by making it turn to ashes, somehow. Often this involves some sort of a sideways jump in the storyline. Somehow, some way, you can put a cloud on that silver lining
By the way, getting back to dear Hillary. Those of you who’ve read my novel OXYGEN will know that on page 41, one of my characters gets a call from the president, who turns out to be a female. I didn’t actually name the president, but I had in mind Hillary. The scene is set in the summer of 2012, and so I knew that whoever gets elected in 2008 will be that president, and my calculations said it would be Hillary. I wrote that scene (not my coauthor John Olson) back in 1999, so I’ll get the credit when it turns out to be true. Ya heard it here first: H.C. in 08.
Enough for today. Catch you all next Monday morning, if I’m able to think coherently by then.
Daan Van der Merwe says
LOL! That reminds me, Once every four years during November, I stay up all night to watch the American Presidential elections on CNN, enjoying every second of it.
One of the many highlights is the scene just after the victorious candidate has been anounced.
Losing candidate: (addressing his supporters in Plains, Georgia) “….but I want you to know, I love you all …”
Supporters: (in perfect unison)”and we love you too!”
Happy Thanksgiving to all the US (and some Canadian) readers.
J Parker Haynes says
Thanks for the clarification. I went through multiple rewrites trying to accomplish my goal from a single POV, and you’re right. It doesn’t work worth a (choose your own four letter word)! Now I’ll try inserting chapters or scenes with second POV. As I look at where the story is going, I DO need that second POV. Gracias!
As to your “Randy sez:” What ridiculous names these characters have! Nobody names their kid Obama or Hillary. Where did you get these?
I say: If your characters are less than honest you name them after politicians. Your readers know then that most of what they say is a lie.
Hope your Thanksgiving is treating you and your well. Until Monday…
Karla Akins says
Well, I had you on a pedestal until that Hilary thing. . .
Is she even eligible? I thought Hillary already served her 8 year max, 1993-2001.
Paul D says
NO! Sorry, Randy, but I’m hoping you’re wrong about Hillary for president!
I’ve got nothing against a female president, but Hillary ain’t the one!
Daan Van der Merwe says
LOL! Camille, LOL!! Excellent!
You have just reminded me, during those years a photo of President Clinton and Hillary appeared in a magazine with the inscription “The President of the United States of America with her husband, Bill.”
Daan Van der Merwe says
Tsk, tsk. Methinks when it comes to the American Fiction Writers lobby, Me. Clinton has her work cut out for her.
Pam Halter says
A woman president with PMS and a finger on the hot button. Or, in Hillary’s case, a women in menopause who can’t think straight and will do anything to relieve herself of a wicked hot flash.
Hmmmmmmm . . .
I wonder if we’re ready for that. HA!
Belated Thanksgiving to all.
Yikes Randy, you have a mathematical model to back-up your claim?
Belated HAPPY Thanksgiving to all! 🙂
Tami Meyers says
Oops, I posted to the days blog, so will try again.
A couple of years ago I started doing the same thing you’re doing with the practice. I typed the first three chapters of a best selling novel because I figured if she was that successful I could learn something from her work.
I have a sanguine personality without any analytical cells in my brain, so outlining and such are useless exercises in frustration. Because of this I thought if I typed someone else’s excellent writing I could possibly pick up the rhythm and flow of good writing, along with learning proper punctuation and structure.
I stopped doing it when someone told me I was wasting time I should be spending on my own story.
Wow, look how much I could have learned in two years! I might even have understood this Scene/Sequel stuff by now. Guess you have to be careful who you listen to (or is that to who/whom you listen?).
I’m still trying moping/to understand how to create a viable “scene” with those subtler conflicts…
Don’t you notice that in stories like P&P, for those who know the novel/film, ‘scenes’ (ie goal, conflict, disaster) are subtle?
Chapter 16 describes a dinner party setting, which includes the ridiculous Mr. Collins who exists, as far as I’m concerned, for comic relief. As far as I can tell, the scene is primarily about Lizzie discovering something from Wickham that significantly increases her dislike for Mr. Darcy. If this is a ‘scene’, her goal, as I see it, is to hang with Wickham. The next chapter moves on to another setting, where Lizzie and her sister discuss the new info and decide how much merit it deserves. Gripping stuff, I know. I bet you thought the next scene was Det. John Maclean stuffing Mrs. Bennet into a helicopter and flying it into the Lincoln tunnel.
My point—can I be honest guys? I want permission to explore the intricacies of human nature without feeling pressured to blow something up.
I’ll fess up: here’s a little excerpt of my story and a brief critique, which I appreciated. And I agreed with the coments, of course. I just don’t know what to do about it- www.tinahelmuth.blogspot.com -if you have a minute to look at it.
Does something outwardly eventful have to happen? If I have people interacting and reacting inwardly, what will it take to make a scene like this feel whole, like a real scene?
Can’t a conflict and disaster be something as simple as this:
Jamie, carrying a load of private anguish, is struggling to figure out how she will break off the recently professed love-thingy with Ian before it goes any further, only to discover that he has told his very caring, meddling sister and Lord knows who else, and now there are more people involved to contend with, people who might start to pry, be sympathetic, and crack the fragile hold she has on her emotions. Of course, they end up prying and being sympathetic and she cracks and now the guy is looking around for a cork because that’s what guys do when a girl starts bawling.
Does this count as a disaster?
Charlotte Babb says
If it’s a disaster to her, it’s a disaster.
Randy, please cancel my subscription. Thanks. Judith