1. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    The right way of seeing something through a character's POV?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Magnatolia, Apr 13, 2014.

    Hi all,

    I'm trying to work on cleaning my writing, making it stronger etc. I know words like saw, noticed, believed etc are possible culprits.

    When do these words have their place in the writing? Are they acceptable when I'm in a POV and that character is seeing something?

    I use these words for things like Thomas noticed Clair staring into the trees. To me that seems ideal. My character is noticing what the other character is doing. If I make it Clair stared into trees it jumps into her POV which is bad bcause the rest of that paragraph is Thomas' POV.

    This next example is really tripping me up. It feels the first half is narrator, and the second half is Clair.

    The soldier saw Thomas glance past him, and turned slowly. (that was narrator) Clair saw the look on Thomas face. Resignation. He expected to die today. (and that was Clair).

    For consistency the whole thing should be changed to be in Clair's POV right? Is this better? Clair saw the look on Thomas face. Resignation. The soldiers eyes followed Thomas' gaze and he turned slowly. She closed her eyes and pulled the trigger.

    The idea I want in that paragraph is that Clair has never killed a human before and Thomas can see she's struggling so he doesn't expect that she will pull the trigger.

    Thanks heaps!
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    'Noticing something' has it's place. It becomes a filter word when you add it to thought rather than action.

    Filter word in a thought:
    I noticed she didn't like me.​
    You don't need it. Just say, "She didn't like me."

    But if/when noticing an action or something like out of the corner of your eye, the verb is not a filter word.
    I noticed her, everyone did.​

    I'm not clear on this example. I can't tell enough about the POV you are using, an omniscient narrator or one that only know's Clair's POV?

    The first sentence is awkward.

    This is much clearer.
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This seems to be the default filter word thread. The other one can be the POV thread mabybe?
    For the record, you do want to show the character's emotions. Think deliberately about it. Keep in mind the more direct you are the stronger it is to the reader.

    Here are your two sentences:

    John saw the door, and turned the handle. It was locked. He was annoyed as he needed to go inside. He went around the back and that door was locked as well. He was getting really angry that he couldn't go inside.

    John turned the doorknob. Locked. He rattled the handle angrily then went around to the back door. Locked as well. Damnit, how the heck am I going to get inside?

    Since you say the second one was the 'right way' example, lets just look at that one. It doesn't have the filter words I pointed out in the other thread. See you've learned already! ;)

    Consider also what you end the sentence with. If you want the anger to stand out, don't end the sentence with, 'he went around back.' Make that a new sentence.

    John turned the doorknob. Locked. He rattled the handle angrily [when it wouldn't turn]. then [He] went around to the back door. Locked as well. Damnit, how the heck am I going to get inside?

    You can put the last sentence in italics to show it is a thought. But you don't have to use italics for thought convention.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  4. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    Thanks @GingerCoffee

    I find it an unusual thought process to have the action of rattling the handle angrily before noting it wouldn't turn. The new sentence has much more tension in it though. I tend to write linearly through the steps, and use short, sharp sentences to increase tension. John turned the handle. He became aware it was locked. Rattled the handle angrily. Is this something I'm doing wrong that could 'leak tension'?

    It makes total sense that having 'he went around to the back door' as a run-on to the sentence results in diluting the tension and emotion. I usually do put the thoughts in italics unless I use a tag such as 'he thought, angrily slamming the palm of his hand against the frame.

    Although that could be done without the tag. Damnit, how the heck am I going to get inside? He slammed the palm of his hand against the frame.

    Actually this could be something I do in general, not all the time, but I've seen a couple of examples.

    The taste as it washed over her tastebuds was like an explosion - using 'as'. Should this be The taste was like an explosion across her tastebuds?
     

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