No working writer tip today. Instead, I’m answering a question related to last week’s tip on how to easily get into a main character’s head and write that deep, deep POV story.
How, I was asked, did I learn that writing in first person is the easy way to a character’s heart, especially since first person POV is frowned upon in many kinds of stories and by many print publishers? What conference did I attend that gave me this helpful tip? Or was it an article I read? Or, perhaps, did another writer whisper for me to try it as we passed in the hallway at a writers’ retreat? Well…. um…. actually….none of those ways.
I learned by doing because I wanted to make a living as a writer and I believed the best place to start was with short fiction. So, when I was given a dog-eared, out-of-date copy of the writers’ bible, the Writer’s Guide, I studied it more thoroughly than I’d ever studied for any final and any class I can remember.
I learned that, while the payment for confession fiction didn’t equal that of major magazines, confession magazines don’t print the author’s name. That little fact means that they don’t care how famous or infamous the author is. And they don’t care how many times an author’s work is printed in their magazines. So any writer, even a newbie like me, could sell and sell and sell stories to confession magazines. As many other confession writers, I’ve had as many as three stories published in the same magazine.
As an aside, you’d be surprised how many major romance novelist names you’d recognize if writer’s names were printed beneath the story title in any confession magazine. It’s a great way to pick up a couple hundred bucks between novels while experiencing a slightly different kind of writing.
This pertains to first person, deep POV how, you ask? Simple. The one requirement of confession writing is that it be in first person. Period. Can be male or female, old or young, main or minor character. Anything goes as long as it’s in first person. So I learned to write in first person.
In doing so, I gradually came to realize that by going deep into my character’s mind and emotions, I was naturally writing in that deep, deep POV that is a goal for many kinds of fiction. Naturally. Easily. Without charts or diagrams with lines going from one character to another and back in order to correctly guage one character’s reaction to whatever or writing pages of background describing each character so I’d know how to portray them. Nothing of the kind. I just put myself into the mindset of my main character and let him/her tell the story in any way he/she chose.
I still do it. It works every time.