1. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Writing details with character's feelings

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by LoaDyron, Oct 27, 2018.

    I am a writer that likes to put a description in detail to give an ideia to the reader what the characters see. However, I recognize that is important as well to show how the characters feel. Could you please give me some advice on this? Many thanks.
     
  2. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    My best advice is to read "The Emotional Craft of Fiction" by Donald Maass.
    For a free resource on one technique for showing the character's emotions, try this LitReactor article by Chuck Palahniuk.

    something I do before writing a scene is take the time to think about the emotions the narrator character is feeling, and how they change in the scene as a response to the conflict/actions of other characters in the scene.

    One technique I use to share the character's emotional experience with the reader is to color the setting descriptions with emotionally biased words. So one character might narrate, "the fox stole lay around the woman's shoulders," and another character might narrate, "the fox stole lay dead around the woman's shoulders." it's the difference between describing a room as a charming curiosity full of treasures, or a dusty clutter of sentimental knickknacks. these emotionally biased words create interiority of mood, and they do a lot to guide the readers feelings.
     
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  3. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    And that works even if the character isn't the narrator?
     
  4. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    who's the narrator, then?
     
  5. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    I believe there is a specific name for a type of narrator that isn't the characters in the story. But maybe I am wrong.
     
  6. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    there probably is a name, but I don't know what it is.

    I haven't tried to write a story with a narrator who isn't a character in the story, though, so I have no idea of those techniques work or not. Sorry! maybe someone else will know.
     
  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Third person. And then there are subcategories—third person limited, third person omniscient, close third person limited, etc. And you can definitely include character feelings, though the exact techniques will vary.
     
  8. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    those are point of view techniques, though, and not necessarily narrator identifiers.
     
  9. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Interesting. I will have to give a look. Thanks :)
     
  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If the narrator is a character in the story, that’s usually first person. Do you have an example of a story where the narrator is a character in the story, but they referr to themselves in third person?

    That is, we’re told that the narrator is Joe, but Joe nevertheless writes, say, “Joe opened the door, his heart thumping. Would the killer bunny be inside?”

    I’ve never seen that.
     
  11. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    what I mean by the narrator character is the character whose senses and thoughts are on the page, and that doesn't necessarily require first person.

    I opened the door with a sweaty hand is first person. "I" is the narrator, and that's easy to determine. It can get a little bit tricky in that you can have a first person narrator who is both the protagonist and an omniscient narrator, like Saleem Sinai in Midnight's Children, or a first person narrator who is not the protagonist, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby.

    But John opened the door with a sweaty hand is third person. Now "John" could be the narrator, and very often is. that's third person limited omniscient. You can have a single narrator for the entire story, or multiple narrators whose point of view is experienced by the reader.

    sometimes there is a separate entity intruding on the story, telling us what John did with the door and whether the door is sweaty or not, but that's usually the territory of 3rd person "true" omniscient. And I don't write 3rd omni, and I haven't read a book in third omni in so long I can't tell you how to handle the emotional experience of the characters in that case. I'm trying to decide whether the interludes of the "recording angels" in Robertson Davie's What's Bred in the Bone are intrusive 3rd person narrators or not.

    And third person limited, aka "hard-boiled," never gives us any sensory or emotional intimacy, or i should say interiority with the characters at all. it can give us reports of a person's physical actions and spoken dialogue from which we may guess at hidden thoughts and feelings, but slipping into a character's experience means it's not 3rd limited. I can't think of any examples of the hard boiled style with an intrusive narrator, and I think that's because the style was heavily influenced by cinema - the camera, which sees all, and thinks nothing.
     
  12. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ... which is all just the long version of exactly what @ChickenFreak said. This doesn't correct any error on her part, because there is none. Hers was just more concise.
     
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  13. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    The name is 'omni' rather is be in 1st or 3rd, the idea is that narrator is revealing to the reader things that can't be seen. (Emotions, thoughts, etc.)
    -

    This essay: https://www.awpwriter.org/magazine_media/writers_chronicle_view/1731/from_long_shots_to_x-rays_distance_point_of_view_in_fiction_writing

    Will help you with the basic tools of narration (as well as show you famous works that use these tools.) I have found no better introductory Essay that covers your question than this.

    -OJB
     
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  14. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks a lot, :D. I will give a look.
     
  15. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    I second hyacinthe's advice. Maass' The Emotional Craft of Fiction is required reading! I'd also suggest you read his, The Fire in Fiction to get a primer on writing with passion and purpose. There's no letup in his teaching, he even bashes well known writers for lazy, uninspired fluffy prose and gives wonderful advice on how to avoid doing the same.
     
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  16. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It sounds like you’re using the word “narrator” when you mean the POV (point of view) character.

    It sounds like you’re using “third person limited” to mean something else. Third person limited doesn’t determine whether you are close to, or far from, the character and their emotions and thoughts.

    Edited to add a random link:

    https://www.thebalancecareers.com/writing-fiction-in-third-person-1277122

    “Third person limited point of view, on the other hand, is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character”
     
  17. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Banned

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    That's third person limited omniscient.
     
  18. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It’s not.

    https://www.nownovel.com/blog/third-person-limited-examples/

    “As Ursula K. Le Guin says in her writing guide Steering the Craft, in third person limited POV:

    ‘Only what the viewpoint character knows, feels, perceives, thinks, guesses, hopes, remembers, etc., can be told. The reader can infer what other people feel and think only from what the viewpoint character observes.’”

    https://study.com/academy/lesson/third-person-limited-narrator-definition-examples.html

    “In third person limited the narrator only knows the thoughts and feelings of one character.

    https://blog.reedsy.com/point-of-view-examples/

    “As you might already know, third person limited restricts the narrator to the thoughts, emotions, and feelings of one character. “

    Do your own research, find your own authorities. I’m confident that you will find it’s not.

    Edited to add: to get this back on topic, @LoaDyron , the last link above has some good samples of third person limited, including some showing emotion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
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  19. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    A lot of information to absorb:D. Thanks a lot, guys.
     

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