Monday, January 24, 2011

The Biggest Loser

It's happened to me twice now, and the solution was the same both times. I was buzzing along in my latest WIP (work in progress), and I started to write an important scene from the perspective of my secondary main character. Everything was going along so so, but I could tell sometimes was missing. It didn't flow right. I couldn't put my finger on it entirely. At first I wondered if maybe I was way off base on the events that unfolded in the scene. But then I asked myself a question I've heard as advice before: "Who has the most to lose in this scene?"

For writers, this is a question to ask ourselves when deciding the POV (point of view) in any scene we write. Usually whoever has the most to lose is who's head we need to be in for that scene. (I'm sure there are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb.)

When I applied this maxim to the above mentioned scene, I realized the other character in the scene, the one who the point of view character was talking to was really the one who had the most to lose. So I decided to start over in her POV. Guess what happened? The scene flowed ten times better, and I no longer felt stuck in how it was to unfold. The words came.

So if you're a writer and stuck in a scene, ask yourself who has the most to lose. It just might be a different character than you first imagined.

9 comments:

Jessica R. Patch said...

I've been in the exact same situation (yesterday actually). Realizing who has the most to lose, unlocks it all. I'm sure it's spilling beautifully on the page, C.J. Great post!

CandaceCalvert said...

Great post, CJ--I hadn't thought of it that way before. You can betcha I will now! Thanks!

Diana Prusik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Prusik said...

Great advice, C.J.! You mentioned this tip to me before, so thanks to you, several scenes in my current manuscript are much stronger now. Terrific post!

Aj Luck said...

Thanks for this post C.J.- this is great advice that I fully plan on using. (I am a new reader and have really been enjoying all of your post and insights so thank you!)

Aj Luck

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Inside Nate's Head said...

I will definitely take this advise to heart as I am currently writing my first novel.

Koala Bear Writer said...

I've never heard that advice for choosing POV character, though I have heard changing POV suggested as a way to overcome a block. I'll have to remember that...

Judith Briles said...

This is a great post. No writer has never experienced being stuck at a certain point in the story before. And this kind of situations are really frustrating. It's really a great advice to remember. Thank you.