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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi All,

If you've listened to the last episode of the podcast (ep 145) you'll know that I am keen to hear about some of the technical and craft issues that listeners come up against. I want to provide you all with a few more of those short (15-20) minute episodes where I look at a craft issue, dissect the problem and then come up with solutions which incorporate examples. So please tell me your writing issues! Maybe I can feature them on the podcast .Thanks A


message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Hi Andy,

I am seeing the challenges of trying to write in 3rd Person Limited POV when you have multiple main characters.
My story has 4 main characters, who eventually come together in various scenes. I am conscious that I need to remain within a single character's POV within a particular scene but I am finding that I accidentally slip into another character's head mid scene (only realizing when I reread).
Any tips or rules of thumb for this?

Thanks,

Paul


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Paul, I have had a lot of experience with this problem!

I found this problem very challenging with The Centauri Survivors, where there was an ensemble cast and a lot of action, and sometimes different areas of action within a scene.

First of all, it's worth thinking carefully for each scene about who you think is at the centre of the scene, which character could carry the weight of the perspective. Think about the scene from the PoV of each character, you might find that the right one to choose emerges from this exercise.

The next thing I'd suggest is to see what happened when you split the scene up into smaller chunks. There's a tradeoff here because you can then share out the PoV between more characters, but the scene can get quite jumpy if you're moving between too many PoV's. It's worth experimenting with this and seeing what works.

Finally you have what might be called the 'hard yards' answer, which is that after you've got the story relatively settled, you just go through the text and check who has the PoV for each section, and make sure it's consistent. It's not an easy thing to do, but it will iron out the issues.

I hope this helps!
BW
Andy


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Thank you for the advice Andy, very helpful. For the sake of progress I might plough on and as you say check the consistency when I have a first draft.


message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Also, Paul, since you asked it, I put this question to my guest, the wonderful Ellen Brock in an episode that will be out early March, check that for her answers also. Thanks, Andy


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer U | 2 comments I recently found your podcast and am working my way through the episodes. They're delightful and full of applicable advice.
If this question is in the wrong place, though, forgive me. It's my first time posting.

Character motivation has been established as a driver to push the plot forward and been discussed on the podcast. But what are your thoughts on the motivation changing partway through the story? After all, real people change their mind.
I realize this must be specific to the character and wouldn't always work. And a character that constantly changes their mind will appear flaky. So, a fine balance must be struck!

Consider this for an example:
A character stumbles into a foreign realm and is mistakenly identified as a heroine the kingdom is expecting. Her goal is to return home but must maintain an impersonation of this heroine - unwilling to believe she IS this person. That is until she encounters a horrible tragedy. This event shatters her desire to go home. She vows to continue the impersonation, intent on delivering justice, and carry out the duties expected of the heroine.
Are these circumstances a justifiable change for motivation?
Or is this change a strict 'no' in the literary world?

If this particular subject has already been discussed, I would appreciate links or references so I can dive in!


message 7: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for your question. The very short answer is: yes, in certain circumstances I think you can change a character's motivation and mind about something, and in fact if you handle it well, it can enhance the story. As you say, you can't have a character flip-flopping between viewpoints, unless that's a very specific and overt feature of who they are, and even in this case you'd need to be careful how you handled the character.

Let's consider a few examples of where characters successfully change their minds. (Spoiler warning!!!) In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett spends much of the book having a poor opinion of Mr Darcy, only to change her mind radically towards the end. In the Harry Potter series Harry has a certain opinion of Snape for nearly the whole of the seven books and only changes his mind at the end of book 7. If you've seen the Star Wars movies you'll know that Han Solo starts the first film made (Part IV: A new hope) as a mercenary who only cares about money and himself, but he changes his mind as he interacts with Princess Leia.

So it's quite reasonable to change a characters mind, their opinion and their motivation. The key, I think, is to ask the question "is this change credible, is it believable?" You'll find that I mention the issue of authenticity in the podcast quite a bit, and I think it's is at the heart of this issue. So in your example if I as the reader can believe that your character would change her mind and want to stay in the kingdom then it's okay to have her change her mind. How believable and authentic this is will depend on the character of your protagonist, her current motivation, and the nature and consequences of the event, and her new motivation.

Again, using this example, you can enhance the believability of the change of mind by subtly blunting the desire to return home to start with, so maybe she just wants to return home because, in some general sense, everything she knows is there. You can complement this by, as a contrast, making the desire to stay very specific and sharp, she has a close friend in the Kingdom who we've got to know and that person is abducted or murdered maybe. A reliable option would be she falls in love, as we see her lover specifically, although your reference to a 'horrible tragedy' may preclude this. Duty, solving a problem, helping a friend, or vengeance - these all might be good reasons for her to stay.

One caution I'd raise with this would be - if she does change her mind and stay, is she staying until she completes a task or is she staying forever? Is it something she needs to do so that she can then go? Or is it something that will keep from ever returning? It's worth thinking that through carefully upfront.

So yes, if you can make your character's change of heart believable, do it! Always be asking what the character would do? Does it make sense? Will the reader believe it? Does it still make for a good story? If you can answer these questions satisfactorily then go for it!

I hope this helps, good luck and best wishes with your work

Andy Chamberlain


message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer U | 2 comments Andy,
Thank you for the response. The examples and questions to guide my thought process were particularly helpful.


message 9: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Your welcome Jennifer, best wishes with your writing.


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Andy, any plans to restart the podcast or have you moved on to other things.


message 11: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Hi Paul, I have moved onto other projects but I might come back to the CWT podcast in the future. As well as whether I have the time to do it, this would be determined by whether I have enough really useful topics to cover, so if there's any aspect of creative writing you'd like em to focus on please let me know!


message 12: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "Andy, any plans to restart the podcast or have you moved on to other things."

Hi Paul,

In case you are not on my mailing list (I have no way to be sure you are unfortunately) I'm just letting you know that I am now in the early stages of planning to relaunch the CWT podcast, there will be more news soon A


message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul | 13 comments Andrew wrote: "Paul wrote: "Andy, any plans to restart the podcast or have you moved on to other things."

Hi Paul,

In case you are not on my mailing list (I have no way to be sure you are unfortunately) I'm jus..."


That's great to hear Andy. I will visit your site and get myself on your mailing list. Thanks.


message 14: by Toni (new)

Toni S | 1 comments I discovered the podcast last week and I am thrilled! It looks like I popped in at the right time. Just wishing you all the luck and cheers to a new season! :)


message 15: by Andrew (last edited Aug 27, 2021 01:01PM) (new)

Andrew Chamberlain (andychamberlain) | 272 comments Mod
Toni wrote: "I discovered the podcast last week and I am thrilled! It looks like I popped in at the right time. Just wishing you all the luck and cheers to a new season! :)"

Hi Toni, many thanks for the words of encouragement. The podcast has been on hiatus for a year or so and is indeed restarting, the first new episode will be out on 3rd September. You can subscribe at any of the major distributors from this link:

https://the-creative-writers-toolbelt...

Best wishes
Andy


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