Here is the second part to Writing Filters to Use: The Bigger Picture. This part goes over dialogue, scenes, and point of view.
Questions to ask…
- Did the words seem natural to the characters and fit their personality?
- Was there too much or not enough dialogue? It’s okay to tell the reader some of the thoughts of the thoughts of the main character, but we should only know the thoughts of other characters through their words and actions, i.e. did the writer show us the story or did he tell it to us?
- Whose story is it?
- If dialect is used, is it used effectively and appropriately?
- Were there enough/too many beats in the dialogue?
- Was the dialogue used to move the plot forward or as a weal way of cramming back story?
- Does dialogue advance the story?
- Is dialogue appropriate to the scene?
- Does dialogue increase conflict?
Things that can be done to enhance Dialogue…
- Ensure that characters sound sufficiently different
- Make sure it is dialogue and not conversation
- Use genre-appropriate dialogue tags
- Keep adverbs in dialogue tags to a minimum, unless genre allows them (use he said, she said’s )
Things that can be done to enhance Scenes …
- Make sure there are a sufficient number of scenes
- Make sure individual scenes satisfy and that they are different in terms of action events, character combinations, dialogue patterns, and type of conflict
- Give scenes variety in length, format, depth, and pattern
- Use a variety of settings for scenes (or play against variety and stick to only a few settings)
- Make sure scenes are in the best order to cause problems for the character and induce tension in the reader
- Make sure the right scenes are dramatized and the right scenes are summarized
Point of View
Questions to ask…
- Story view point (first, second, third limited, omniscient)
- Is it the right POV for the story and for the scene; would another be better?
- Is POV clear?
- Is POV maintained within scenes?
- Character view point
- Who should be the viewpoint character in each scene?
- Is the story in the right character’s POV? Would another character work better?
- If the story is in multiple characters POV, should it be changed to just one character?
- If the story is in one character’s POV, would the story work better in multiple characters POV?
Things that can be done to enhance POV…
- Make sure that viewpoint character doesn’t change within scenes (no head-hopping)
- Make sure viewpoint character knows only what he could really know
- Use a change in POV or viewpoint character to bring story and character closer to the reader or to hold the reader at a distance when necessary
The final and third part of this series goes more into structure of the story.
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