I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately as I’ve been trying to figure out what’s broken in my wip. Yes, it’s broken, and that’s another post (and believe me, it will be written). As I’ve been listening to them, I come across many I want to share.
Today, while sweating it out at the gym, I listened to this (scroll down to #41). Now, I don’t want to write a blow by blow of what Gregory Frost said, but I want to point out something that I think gets overlooked often that he touched on very well.
If you’ve ever gotten a crit wherein you’ve been told your POV isn’t working, then this is definitely the podcast for you. As I’ve been working with writers with severe POV problems, I’ve been searching for a better way to explain why. Boy-howdy did I find it.
Go. Listen. Come back.
Now that you’ve listened, the thing he said that struck me as absolutely the most useful for new writers is to label each sentence with the level of psychic distance it has from the reader. It must be in order. When it deviates, it must be done with a purpose. Learn how to control your POV, control your psychic distance, and then you can formulate a clear purpose for your how you use your POV.
I think what happens is that many times, it’s not that the writer is having a problem structuring a sentence. There is, for the most part, a clear ability to write. There is also a clear story to tell. So what’s the problem? The problem is structuring the narrative. If your POV is all over the place, it doesn’t matter how well you can write a sentence, or that you have a good story to tell. You have to be able to keep your reader captivated and invested.
Follow Gregory Frost’s advice. If you have people telling you there’s a problem, number those sentences. You’ll see a clear pattern or lack thereof.