Stepping Stones Blog

Writing Seminar: Writing from the Front (Angela Hunt) – Part 2

This is the second part of a four part series which reviews Angela Hunt’s Writing Seminar for HACWN on Saturday, April 26th.  Part 1 covered the Plot Skeleton and can be found here.

Point of ViewPoint of View

While we are all familiar with this term, and the association of 1st person POV with first person pronouns (I, me, we, us, my and our) and 3rd person POV with its corresponding pronouns… Angela takes this topic one step further, using the notion of an imaginary camera while writing each scene.

Just as in film, when the camera distance changes in order to maintain the viewer’s attention, so too must the camera change in writing.  There are times when a wide-angle shot is necessary to establish context.  There are times when zooming in close to the character is necessary to create emotional connection.  And there are also times when moving the camera into the head of the character is necessary in order to give insight into action and motivation.

This constant movement – in, out, around – must be smooth and seamless.  No quick jerks or stalling too long in one place.  The pace of the movement is as important as the movement itself.

charactersCreating Extraordinary Characters

While an entire seminar could be devoted to just this one topic, Angela did give one tip that is not only invaluable to aid in character development, but also in doing so in a quick and efficient manner.

Angela begins by creating a simple character personality based on the Myers-Briggs study.  I am sure that many of you are familiar with this (online tests are plentiful), but she has culled it down to the following essentials:

  • Introvert (re-energize while being alone) vs Extrovert (energize with people)
  • Intuitive (make decisions by a gut feeling) vs Sensing (make decisions based on data)
  • Thinker vs Feeler (self explanatory, I think…)
  • Judge (organize life by files and lists) vs Perceive (less organized life in piles)

Once you have a general character personality (I am an ISTJ, for example), you can then enter that 4-digit personality code into a google search and discover a wealth of common characteristics for that particular personality type.

She also suggested the following exercise:  Write down what your character would NEVER do, say or think…. and then make your character do, say and think those very things.  By squeezing our characters to the brink, we discover what is truly inside.

Up next:  Evoking Emotion, Tension on the Line and Tracking Down Weasel Words.

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