Working on Point of View and Show vs. Tell today

On August 2, 2009 by Aimee

I’m back to working on Mirage this weekend. I hit a bump in the story for Little White Lies — not a block, something I’d term a “I don’t like the way this is going” and want to rethink before I write more. So I’m holding pending thought.

Instead, I’ve been doing TONS ‘o research on the two topics in the subject line. I’m sure there are whole books dedicated to these two finer points of writing and until recently I’d barely understood what they meant.

Point of View (PoV) is from whom the story is being told. Since I like writing third person, I have the ability to know, and thus write, everyone’s PoV. But, the world according to editors and publishers doesn’t like the omnisicent viewpoint (generally speaking) and wants limited PoVs.

Mine were close throughout Mirage — I “jump heads” between about four characters. The problem is I do it within a scene. So, I’m reworking a few scenes to be more specific to my important characters. In doing so, the reader may be left with more unknowns — which will hopefully keep them turning the page to know.

The beauty of not working in first person is that I can work between my characters and tell you what they know and feel.

Now, for that word feel. It doesn’t specifically mean anything, right? Here’s an oversimplified example:

Tell me which is better to you?

Mary saw the pretty rainbow.

Mary’s eyes reflected the beauty of the seven-colored arc.

The first is a “tell”. I told you what she saw. The second is “show”. I showed you what she saw. You as a ready, supposedly, prefer the 2nd (I know I do!). So I’m going through my own story (yes allllllll pages, scenes and chapters) to fix Point of View and enhance tell with show.

It’s an amazing process. Who would have thought writing a novel was more than just writing? Oh wait, I mean… Who would thought the creation of a work of art in written form required knowledge of advance language and strategic skills?