Gargoyles and Sins

My Sunday wasn’t over yet. 1 workshop and 3 panels down, 3 to go. It was a packed weekend and it wasn’t even Monday, yet.

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Next up was Point of View and Narrator Swapping, moderated by Maria Snyder, with Meriah Crawford, Sunny Moraine, and Christie Meierz.

How do you pick your point of view or tense?

  • Meriah Crawford – My first characters were alone a lot, so I did first person, obviously. After that, it because habit.
  • Sunny Moraine – I decide if a point of view (PoV) is necessary for the story.
  • Christie Meierz – I started off with just hero, heroine, and villain and ended up with 10 point of view characters.

Have you had any false starts?

  • Meriah Crawford – Once had to go back and change tense 65,000 words in!!
  • Sunny Moraine – Nope.
  • Christie Meierz – No, but she has had to go back and write the beginning.

Head hopping can be good, IF the author does it well.

Omniscient 3rd person can be good, IF the author does it well.

Either technique – introduce early in the writing so it doesn’t throw the reader out of the story later on.

What do you write in?

  • Marie Snyder – Writes in 1st person, like the intimacy.
  • Meriah Crawford – Her style needs 1st person or omniscient 3rd person.
  • Christie Meierz – Genre fiction has conventions. Space opera gets disoriented with multiple heads.
  • Sunny Moraine – Uses 3rd person for space opera. She uses 2nd person for short stories, or when angry or talking to an audience.

What about Narrator Swapping and showing the same scenes?

  • Maria Snyder – “To rewrite my first novel would be too boring! I already know what happened!” Doesn’t want to tell the story from a different characters point of view.
  • Christie Meierz – You have to be very careful when retelling with the timeline.

Do you have techniques to keep different narrator voices distinct?

  • It’s hard. Use personality and feel free to go back after you finish the story and rewrite to get the voices more divergent.

Examples of things discussed:

  • Yellow Raft on Blue Water – Too much overlap, but a good example of multiple people telling the same story.
  • Terry Pratchett is a good example of 3rd person omniscient with a strong ‘narrator’ voice.

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I’d been looking forward to the next panel, it sounded fun. Knowing That I Know That You Know: Xanatos Gambits and Chessmasters. Originally subtitled: Staying 10 steps ahead of your reader. Only Grig Larson and the moderator Steven Southard showed up.

The title is a reference to the TV show: Gargoyles and the one of the main antagonists. It’s when you arrange things such that no matter how things work out, you still proceed on the path you wanted. Here’s TV Trope’s definition, don’t forget to come back!

Now that you’ve read that, I’ll tell you about the few takeaways I got from the panel.

  • Using cliches makes things predictable. THEN you can play with them.
  • Use red herrings.
  • Comedy is the art of the unexpected
    • i.e. The Princess Bride -the Battle of Wits
    • i.e. Phule’s Company by Robert Asprin
  • January 16th by Ayn Rand. It’s a play where the audience is the jurors and is written in such a way that there is a near 50/50 chance of the audience voting either way. Then, the play progresses based on the audience’s decision.

(Side note: I love crime capers and was recommended Ruthless People)

The final panel I attended was Confess Your Writer’s Sins. I walked in and there was a great long table. We were all a bit wary, but it ended up mostly being a panel, not a round table, to my great relief. Sunny Moraine was the moderator. James D Ross, Sue Bailman, and Alex White were the panelists.

Why are you on this Panel?

  • “Because I’m a bad writer” – Alex White joked
  • If it weren’t for my editor, I wouldn’t be here. – Sue gave her writer credentials credit to her editor.
  • Advertising for my novels. – James D Ross confessed.
  • I like to share! – Sunny Moraine

Where Did You Start Sinning?

  • Confessed his worst was killing a woman to further the plot for the main character – he fridged her. – Alex White
  • Sucked at fiction, but good at erotica. – Sunny Moraine
  • Wrote many Mary Sues (Gary Stu) in high school who gazelled their way through conflict. – James D Ross

Tips on hurting characters?

  • “I hate people, I make them up to destroy them!” (Maybe Alex White? Bad notes!)
  • Quoting Chuck Wendig – Keep making issues, keep breaking things – Sunny Moraine
  • Quoting Deborah Gibson – Give them the choice between sucky and suckier – Alex White

What do you hate in other people’s writing…. that you do yourself?

  • Directing scenes very visually. “Gun fucking” with ten page descriptions of the gun. – Alex White
  • Not trusting the reader to fill in the gaps. – Sue Bailman

I Can’t Quit You : What mistakes do you keep making?

  • New pet words. –
  • Azure. Setting the character aside and having them just talk, in between action. Never use the phrase “Start to”, just do it! – Alex White
  • Passive voice. Long winded. Don’t hesitate to kill things that don’t serve the plot. – James D Ross
  • Remember that the reader needs to breath between action scenes.

What Tropes Do You Keep Repeating?

  • Doomed Heroes. – James D Ross
  • I like to subvert tropes. Sexist tropes. – Alex White
  • Characters with chronic illnesses. Desert settings. – Sunny Moraine

What Are Your Regrets That You’d Hide

  • Sorta fridging that character. But it was her choice. – Alex White
  • The erotica I had published. – Sue Bailman
  • While on medication, wrote his own back text for his first book. It got through editing saying “Britches” not “Breeches” for a battle… – James D Ross
  • White savior trope with some noble savages – Sunny Moraine

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