Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mr. Cizak's Writing Tips #2 -- More attributes

So last week we talked about attributing thoughts to your pov character. Let's continue that line of discussion. I am especially fond of third person close. It's almost first person but without the hassle of seeing the word I all over the page. Remember: Third person close means just that--We don't EVER know the thoughts of other characters, only the protagonist (or whomever you've attached your third person close to).

How do we know what other characters think? By their actions, of course. Our protagonist witnesses what the other people in the story do. He or she might even develop an opinion about those actions. A clever writer, of course, will allow the protagonist to develop an opinion that may differ from the reader's opinion. The important thing is, those actions are observed only.

It is tempting to write something like:

John saw her put the bottle of cough syrup in her coat pocket.

But since we are, essentially, the mind of the protagonist, there is no need for the John saw.

Hence:

John walked past the aisle of cold remedies. He saw Cassie open a box of Robitussin DM. She put it in her coat pocket.

Now, for those paying attention, you'll notice that there's still too much information in that sentence. Thus, it should read like so:

John walked past the aisle of cold remedies. Cassie opened a box of Robitussin DM. She put it in her coat pocket.

There's no need to ever tell us John saw, or looked at, or heard anything. Simply state what the protagonist is witnessing as a matter of fact.

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