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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Overview Voice: Viewpoint Decisions

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

In the book Writing for Children and Young Adults, Lee Wyndham reminds writers that the viewpoint is not “which person (author, hero, onlooker) tells the story, but through whose eyes and heart the story is told.” With that distinction understood then the choices the writer selects will thread throughout the storyline with consistency and clarity.

This then links your point of view back to your plot, your theme, and your conflict.

I think that heart becomes the key factor that will connect with your readers. For example, the classic line from Oliver Twist “please, sir I want some more,” has been said in several ways from the original sentence to movie and play adaptations. But the core viewpoint is the very hungry young orphan Oliver mustering up the courage to ask for more watery gruel. The viewpoint decision is timeless as any child can relate to being hungry and so, regardless of the way the story is retold, it instinctively connects heart to heart.

So what emotional link do you most want your readers to respond to?

Sometimes you may know from before your begin your story and sometimes the choices and decisions will change and surprise you as you write your first draft and see your own ideas from a different perspective.

One resource I highly recommend for YA authors in particular is Wild Ink, by Victoria Hanley.

There are two invaluable reasons to read Wild Ink’s second edition. First, it encompasses a thorough introduction to the diverse YA market. Second it demonstrates an excellent understanding of voice from which all writers can adapt her principles to their own audiences. The wide range of possible topics, styles and content Hanley supplies are also shown by the interviews she includes from several YA authors in fiction and non-fiction. I found it interesting that one common thread amongst everyone was the repeated need to be true to the voice of the story.

Hanley gives an outstanding Your Inner Teen Exercise to help identify where you have strengths or weaknesses identifying with the emotional range necessary for honest character development, voice, and dialogue.

Action Steps:

1.     Choose an important episode for your character from your story brainstorming. Make it one that you either plan to incorporate in this story or one that has a major influence on back history for her personally.

2.     Write the scene up from each of the three viewpoints: omniscient, third person, or first person.

Share: Which one is the most effective to connect your reader to your character’s heart?

Read deep, marcy

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