POV, Flash Fiction, and Honing Your Craft

(aka-One topic was too short so I added stuff)

We are given the option as creative beings to write from any POV (point of view), um, excuse me, any POV as long as there’s only one per scene and it’s not ours. In other words. First person is fine (from the character’s POV), and third person limited is fine. No omniscient. In spite of the fact that we as the writer and creator of the story knows all and sees all that goes on with our characters, we’re not allowed to write it.

I remember through grade school that omniscient was okay. Apparently omniscient is one of those childish things that we’re supposed to put off when we’re grown, like giggling at bodily functions and sticking out our tongues. 😛 What-ever. I intend to giggle until my dying breath.

So being a good lemming – okay, I’ll admit it, a lemming who wants to sell – I changed POV to third-person limited.

Darn it! It turns out they’re right. One POV per scene is working so much better. Cleaner, tighter. And Head hopping confusion yes, less confusing.There are solid reasons for this. “Head-hopping” as it’s been called can be leave the reader uncertain as to whose head their in during any given conversation or action. We may think that we’re giving them the information they need but chances are what was in our head didn’t fully translate to paper.

The best thing is that it’s become a puzzle and word game for me. How can I turn this conversation between estranged sisters into a compelling scene from only one sister’s view? Cut, cut, reword, cut.  Ah-ha!

I’m not saying it gets easier to rewrite but, I do know now that I’m aware of it, I’ll be writing better. That means less rewriting. 😀 And that is a very good thing.

A great way to practice this is Flash Fiction. Now Flash Fiction is a full story (beginning, middle, end) written in 100-1000 words depending on who you ask. A great goal is midway, 500 words. (Mine tend to be around 600-700.) This is a great opportunity to work on POV and also to work on word choice. You have to get rid of all of the extraneous words such as adverbs and excessive adjectives and the extra “ands” and extra “thats”. (See what I did there.)

Check out Holly Lisle’s Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck (clickable link and the class is free). She has a great program to help. I mentioned this program before in The Eternal Question post and how I have to work it. Try it out when you have a bit of time. It doesn’t take much.

Doing these Flash Fiction pieces can really help develop some great writing skills; brevity, precision and POV.

Have you tried Flash Fiction? Give it a shot and work to make a full story with clear point of view for each scene (if there’s more than one) and very concise words.

Good luck.

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