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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Right Perspective - IWSG January 2021


It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for January: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise - Fundy Blue

This month's optional question: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most?

I get distracted when a writer takes me outside the “camera-eye” of a character. This may be a no-brainer, but rather than being told what a character sees or hears, I want to become the characterto feel what they feel in the moment, to hear what they hear, to experience it from their perspective.

I’m not sure how better to explain it, than to use examples:

Samantha heard the staccato of a bird in the distance. (This makes the reader “see” Samantha hearing the bird, rather than putting the reader inside Samantha’s head to hear it.)

A bird chirped a staccato rhythm.

Bill saw a rainbow form across the horizon. (In referring to Bill, the narrator pulls the reader away from Bill. This puts the reader at a distance from the action instead of being a part of the action.)

A rainbow formed across the horizon.

Alison knew Lexie would flip when she found out the cow had escaped.

Alison rubbed her eyes. Lexie would flip when she found out the cow had escaped.

She felt the heat of the sun as it burned through her blouse.

Her shoulders stung as the sun burned through her thin blouse.

I knew Bobby-Jack would be furious I lost the key.

Before I could grab it, the house key went skittering through the hole in the floorboards. Damn. At eighty-miles-an hour, it was long gone. I kept my mouth shut. Bobby-Jack was going to be furious.

Often, phrases like“she heard,” “he saw,” “she felt,” “he knew” may be eliminated. Rather than explaining to your reader what a character is experiencing, let your reader live it.

Wishing you all health, positive perspectives and writing success in 2021. What stops you from reading a book or throws you out of a story?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are great examples. My critique partners are finishing up with my latest and I will remember those examples as I make edits.

Joanne said...

good examples. I'm inclined to get annoyed at a book where the writer is trying way too hard to be literary - way too many "big" words and phrases. The writing has to flow as far as I'm concerned.
Hope your new year has begun well and that you are happy with your writing and editing. If not, show us some of your grand photography - I never get tired of the scenery. Take care

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Good examples, Liza. Those words - "I knew" etc - tend to create a distance between the reader and the characters.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Those examples are brilliant! Can I share them with the author I'm working with now? He needs that kind of help.

Nick Wilford said...

Yes! I know what you're talking about. And it's something I try to avoid in my writing. Thanks for the reminder ;)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great examples! I've made those mistakes, but I don't like them. :)

Happy 2021!

Gwen Gardner said...

I like becoming the character too. Excellent examples!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Those are great examples. I really try to avoid "feel" in my own writing. Hope you got through the holidays okay. I thought about you. I hope this is a better year for you.

cleemckenzie said...

When I fist started writing, I had my hand slapped by a great editor for using so many filter words. You've explained why not to use them perfectly.

Sarah Foster said...

I love these examples! I've been trying to go through my own work and find those kinds of filler words that could be better written sentences.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Those are great examples of show not tell. I admit it took me a while to see the simplicity of it.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Those are the first key phrases I look for when I edit.

Fundy Blue said...

I laughed as I read your post, Liza. I have spent countless hours teaching young writers to show not tell! Great examples. Yet I'll make the same mistake in my own writing. Thanks for the reminder. Take care.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - love your examples, and agree with them. I really do not like weak endings ... where the story sort of fizzles out - puts me off the author. All the best for 2021 - Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

I love your examples:)

Jan Morrison said...

Oh these are good! So easy to get lazy and forget.

On another note, I'm thinking of you today, thinking and feeling about all my American friends in fact, and I send you much love and prayers. May basic goodness prevail.

Empty Nest Insider said...

If only she could think of a clever reply to the informative message, but she was beckoned to dinner.

Well, I had to try, but I'm probably a lost cause! Thanks Liza!