1. philipmarie
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    philipmarie Member

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    Attitude and eep penetration?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by philipmarie, Feb 24, 2011.

    Through the Immaculate Heart,

    So I'm writing a novel and I need some knowledge on mixing attitude and deep-third person penetration. Motives are what make characters act in the way they do (eg: Batman fights crime because he wants to protect the innocent after becoming a victim himself) while attitude is their verall reaction to outside events (eg: Batman feels disgust at the sick things which the Joker does, whereas other criminals may feel that the Joker acted justly).

    Then there is penetration, which makes us see things through the characters eyes. I'm not talking about first person at all, this all has to do with third person but these degrees vary. There is limited (or light) penetration in which we see the scenes the POV character is in and see inside his head but we don't experience the scenes as if they were experienced by the character himself, only getting the character's attitudes when the narrator dips away from the scene and into the character's head. The Harry Potter books are like this as also are the Lord of the Rings.

    Then we have deep penetration, in which we experience the scenes as the character experiences them. The narrator doesn't have to say "He thought", because we already are experiencing the character's thoughts and attitudes without such tags. Stephen King's books and some horror novels are like this.

    But I fear that I would overuse the attitude and deep penetration bit. Orson Scott Card said that he's read many stories where the author provided deep penetration in the most pointless and slowest bits, while others provided only light penetration when the story itself was shouting to be penetrated deeply. Can anyone please give me advice?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ahh reread it - try just getting to know your characters, once you know what they will do in a given situation you then know how they will react.

    EDIT: my mind went same way as VM80s especially as what I am writing at present is desperatly trying to avoid character penetration.
     
  3. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Going by the title I thought this thread would be about something else entirely...

    Anyway, I would say you need to find your style. Write and worry about editing later.
    You can always add and take out stuff as needed. Personally I like to find out what makes a character tick, but in such a way that it doesn't hold up the action.

    What genre are you writing?
     
  4. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    I think I'm getting what your talking about, so I'll give it a shot.

    As to being against the idea of expressing your characters as "he thought", I'd have to disagree a bit. At some point, I would get tired of constantly trying to decipher what the character's motivations are in the grand scheme of things. I think it would best to try for nuance, but at some point I just feel you need to state at least something just to stop readers from getting the wrong idea.

    For instance, if my character hated the poor, and I wanted to show this without directly having the character state or think that he hated the poor, I could see problems arising. I could never know if he was simply just being an ass, or for what reason he hated this specific group of people. If it was something simple: like a poor peoples rebellion killing his family, I could understand how stating it would be unnecessary. You could just assume that would be a good enough reason for him to hate the poor. However, if its for another reason: like a perverted sense that wealth is a sign of the grace of God and thus being poor is to be punished for sin, than it might be difficult to just decipher it from his more usual interactions.

    I have a feeling I just posted something that has nothing to do with what your talking about, but good luck anyway!
     
  5. philipmarie
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    philipmarie Member

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    Actually chaco, you are right, thanks, and thanks to everyone else too!:)
     

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