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The Basics: Point
by Sandy Tritt
(continued from last month)
PERSON, CONTROLLED CONSCIOUSNESS, RAY’S VIEWPOINT:
Ray walked the mile from the hospital to Bob’s Sunoco. He found Gary in
the bay, changing the oil on a pale blue Cadillac. He kicked his
brother’s feet until Gary rolled from beneath the car. “We gotta talk.”
“I get off at three.”
Gary stood and wiped his hands on an oily rag. “What’s up?”
“Let’s walk.” Ray feared his brain was going to explode. Too much was
going on, too many things were changing. He’d read the front page of the
newspaper over and over while waiting in the doctor’s office. The Apollo
7 astronauts were heading home after eleven days in space. President
Johnson was negotiating for the release of fourteen North Vietnamese
POW’s. And Jackie Kennedy, the dead President’s wife, was marrying a
Greek billionaire the very next day. He didn’t even know if it was legal
for the President’s widow to marry a foreigner.
Gary followed Ray outside and toward town. “What did the doctor say
“He put her in the hospital.”
Colorful leaves swirled around their ankles, the drier ones crunching
under their heavy steps. Gary kicked them out of his way. “Why?”
“He got the tests back.”
A young mother, her sweater flapping in the wind, pushed a baby carriage
over the uneven sidewalk with one hand and pulled a stubborn toddler
with the other. Ray stepped into the street to let her pass.
“What did the doctor say?” Gary repeated.
“She’s got cancer.”
Gary stopped walking. “Cancer?”
Ray slowed down until Gary caught up.
about a mass in her brain.”
Gary was quiet for a long time, then spoke softly. “Does she need
surgery? Does she have to take chemo? Or radiation?”
“He says there ain’t nothing they can do. He says it’s too late.” Ray
remembered that part very well. He’d argued with Dr. Brown, insisting
there had to be something. She had three young boys who needed her.
“Too late? Too late for what?”
“Dr. Brown says . . .” Ray rubbed his head. “He says it’s too late. He
says she ain’t coming home.”
They walked slower, silently, past the library and into the park. Pre-schoolers
played on the swings and slide, laughing and shouting.
Gary leaned against an oak tree, his dirty gray jumpsuit blending into
we gonna do?” he said.
Gary took a new pack of Marlboros from his pocket and tapped it against
“I guess we gotta pick them up from school and fix them something to
“I don’t mean now,” Gary said, opening the cigarettes. “Until they’re
take care of them?”
Ray scratched the five-day-old stubble on his chin. “They made a
mistake. We just gotta find Dad and get this all straightened out. Dad
will know what to do.”
Gary lit a cigarette and slowly exhaled.
Ray watched the smoke disappear into the October-blue sky. A foreigner.
Two hundred million people in the United States and the President’s
widow was going to marry a foreigner. No wonder the world was so damned
that by changing our viewpoint character, we get a different account of
the action. Therefore, we need to carefully choose whose viewpoint to
use so we can get the greatest power from each scene.
Even within third person omniscient, we should have only one viewpoint
character at a time, only one character whose thoughts and mind we
visit. We have the option to change viewpoint characters, but we must do
it very carefully, preferably at a scene or chapter break. However, if
we must switch “heads” within a scene, we should clue the reader to what
we are doing and allow for a transition. I prefer to do this by ignoring
the previous viewpoint character for a sentence or two, then have the
new viewpoint character touch his face —rub his forehead, scratch his
ear, any action as long as it involves his face or head —to clue the
reader that this is our new “head.” Once the switch is made, stay with
it. “Head-hopping” is confusing for the reader and should be done only
when absolutely necessary.
Oftentimes when we get a vague feeling that something isn’t right but
can’t quite put our finger on it, the problem is a breach in point of
view. This means we have inadvertently changed viewpoints or switched
from one type of point of view to another. So study point of view. If
you’re not happy with the way your story is reading, try changing the
point of view or try changing your viewpoint character. Just be
(continued next month)
(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved,
except for those listed here. October be reproduced for educational purposes
(such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt
for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.
The Democratization of Media
By Bruce L. Cook
Short stories by popular authors,
$0.49. (A new service just announced by Amazon.com.)
Short stories by new authors, $0.29? (Don’t expect Amazon to offer
Could this be done? It is possible. Think what Napster did for audio.
Unlike writers in the 1960s, we can offer our stories online. In fact,
I’m willing to list them on Author-me.com and ReserveBooks.com for $.29 to start. For every
sale, 9 cents to the publisher and 20 cents to the author.
Try me. Send me the story and I’ll set it up. Contracts and all.
Think of what’s happening out there.
Two weeks ago Bruce Wilkinson of Claritas, Inc. addressed the Fifth Annual
Midwest Publishers Forum in Chicago regarding new media. Having reviewed
new media developments, Bruce concluded that we are seeing an increased
“democratization of media.”
It’s true. We have access now.
The shift is profound.
A personal website by a guy named Drudge jarred the journalists. Fox
Cable TV exposed blatant bias at the New York Times.
And, for writers, we can leave our scribblings in BLOGS which are far
better read than the old Usenet newsgroups that started well before the
advent of browsers.
Wiki editing now gives us a chance to write copy for a new encyclopedia (Wikipedia)
and to revise copy online. Further, it lets us “Wiki enable” our
manuscripts on Author-me and elsewhere, inviting other writers to freely
comment and even revise the copy we have posted. (Of course, the Wiki
system remembers the original so nothing is lost).
Further, our audience has expanded, as readers can now listen to our
stories (which we can read into a telephone - see www.reservebooks.com).
Readers can now read our stories on cell phones via the WAP Protocol and
Soon, within a few years, laptops will have flexi-screens so readers can
curl up with our epics.
In all this, there is a place for new writers to compete with the
Amazon/novelists? Every bit as much as Fox News can compete with the New
York Times. We can do it. We should do it. So let’s go!
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Critiques by Sandy
Unlike most editors, I consider my role
to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I
explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how
to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat
business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other
Treat you with respect and compassion.
All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to
improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.
Mark your manuscript, correcting
grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where
Highlight areas that are especially
well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.
Where appropriate, offer suggestions for
plot development, character development or other areas that could be
Return a two-to-four page written
analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting,
characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks,
etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.
If appropriate, recommend reading or
resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.
Answer any questions you have via
Provide my telephone number for a
personal follow-up, if you desire.
For Sandy's success stories, see
Write Sandy at
(See Sandy's article
The Time was When: Reflections on
Writing TimeTravel Tales
by Dave Cassel
have four rules for spinning time travel stories.
travel can only be accomplished by supernatural means.
Science fiction writers effect time travel by using great speed. Arrive
somewhere else before leaving here or finish an activity before
beginning it, and you’ll go backward in time. Let’s call that traveling
it doesn’t work. To finish your night’s rest before starting it means
not sleeping, because you got up before you lay down. To spend no time
traveling means not traveling—not even super-fast—and not going backward
about going forward? That should be the opposite of going
super-fast—which is what? Standing exceptionally still? “Springing
forward” to daylight savings time? Maybe it’s going back
backwards: While brushing your teeth super-fast, you face away from the
Fantasy writers can make believe, but sci-fi authors must make
sense—which they apparently cannot do with time travel stories.
God travel in time? Scripture doesn’t say, so my stories have God—and
demons—enable time travel.
2. A journey
to the past cannot change history.
God works all things according to his will, he’s not going to use time
travel to undo what’s happened.
Additionally, if Joe could change the past, he could erase his
own existence. But then he wouldn’t exist to go back in time and
eliminate himself. So the possibility doesn’t exist. And it therefore
seems unlikely he could make other changes to history.
God-empowered time travel won’t do anything God doesn’t want done.
demon Morodek can make time travel do evil things—which it won’t do
under God’s control.
4. Keep time
travel data consistent, and pursue all of their implications.
would be inconsistent if I sent Joe forward in time to accompany
himself, but put one body inside another.
I sent him from several different times into an activity, placing three
bodies there, I’d create a repeating event:
Body One goes through it with Two and Three;
Two goes through it with One and Three;
Three with One and Two;
Repetitions always have new Ones, Twos, or Threes, requiring
infinitely more repetitions.
travel stories are intriguing. But since I don’t believe in real-world
time travel, I’ll journey according to these rules; I have my speed
they don’t apply to God.
Cassel is a Baptist minister who has pastored for 19 years and has
recently retired after nearly 16 years as a prison chaplain. A husband,
a father of two adult sons, and a grandfather of one beautiful
ten-year-old girl, he’s run seven marathons and has hiked and backpacked
extensively in Oregon. This is his fourth published work.
Created You: A Guide to Temperament Therapy
AuthorMe Paperback... (Released 2005)
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Go Back in Time!...
our new all - immersion Life of Jesus (Part 1) from David C. Cook
III. You'll become a true believer. Visit...
is dedicated to the memory of David C. Cook III.
From Paul the Apostle...
By Kurt Schuller
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Publishing New Writers,
October, 2005 (no. 610)
Publisher: Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.
Fax (847) 428-8974.
Submissions /comments email@example.com.
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