Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Thursday, September 13, 2012

some suggested reading

Last week the lovely and talented Julie recommended a book. It's 'Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View'. I probably would have thought harder about buying it, but it's $2.99. In the end, I'm glad I did.

Though I knew most everything in the book intrinsically, I'd let some of these techniques and practices slip by the wayside. It's a fast read, and doing the exercises is helpful. I'd been trying to express to a few critique partners the importance of writing this way, but didn't have any type of terminology for it. I called it 'active' vs. 'passive' writing. 

So for example, let's pretend we're writing a story from Bob's point of view. Instead of saying 'Bob saw Mike hide the mustard.', we'd say 'Mike hid the mustard.' We're seeing the world through Bob's eyes, right? If the point of view is written correctly, then we already assume Bob saw Mike do it. It takes the reader out of the action and separates them from the inner thoughts and sights of the main character by adding 'saw'. Or 'heard'. Or 'felt'. So in essence, you're deepening the relationship with the main character and his/her point of view by putting the reader directly inside his/her head.

Not to mention, using words like 'felt' is lazy anyway. 'Bob felt happy.' It's the age old lesson of show vs. tell.

Anyway, this post turned into a quick lesson about a common mistake made by writers instead of a recommendation to go and buy this book. Will it change your life? No. But it will make you look more closely at your writing, and that's never a bad thing. 

And besides, if you expect something that costs $2.99 to change your life, well, then you're beyond my help.

1 comment:

Jo Michaels said...

Good points, all. I may have to pick this book up. Thanks for the suggestion, Jen! WRITE ON!