In our critique groups, we read each others’ work and make suggestions for improvement. Because our audiences will each “hear” what we have to say differently, there is value in having critique partners who hear the writing from each of their unique perspectives.

The author then rewrites using the suggestions that he or she thinks improves the writing. Below are writing samples before and after the rewriting process. It is easy to see that the time spent rewriting was valuable to the finished products.

Below are samples of “before” and “after” writing and what we learned when our work was critiqued.

January 12, 2012-Deep Point of View

Today, we studied deep point of view using Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s book, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View. Here is an example from my weekly newspaper column of the difference in shallow point of view and deep point of view:

Before Shallow Point of View: “She noticed that the best courses in the curriculum were nutrition, chemistry, physiology, and bacteriology…”

After Deep Point of View: “The best courses in the curriculum were nutrition, chemistry, physiology, and bacteriology…”

The point of view character (POVC) doesn’t think “she noticed.” She thinks the rest of the sentence (the best courses in the curriculum…).

If we are trying to write from the point of view of a character, it is called author intrusion to insert “she noticed.” Another way of saying that is that we are allowing the author to become a narrator rather than staying “in the head” of the character.

This is a difficult concept to understand until the “ah-ha” moment hits. For that reason, I highly recommend that you get the book. I paid less than six dollars for it at Barnes and Noble.

We will continue to study deep point of view at our next meeting on February 9th. Hope to see you there. Happy Writing until then.

by Carole Bell

July 19, 2013 Using “Beats” in Dialogue

I recently learned a technique I want to share with readers. I wrote this sentence in an article:

 “I’ll take that chance. And, the chance that she won’t be there either.”

I told my critique partner that I needed a pause between the two sentences that shows hesitancy. (Notice that I tried to do that with a comma after “and” in the original sentences.) She mentioned “beats” and said I could use an action beat in this instance. My revised sentence shows that the protagonist is hesitant and a little unsure about what he hopes is true:

 “I’ll take that chance.” He looked down and stubbed his toe into the gravel. “And the chance that she won’t be there either.”

For more information about the use of beats, check out this writing tip by Rebecca Belliston.

Keep writing, and I hope to see you at our next meeting.

by Carole Bell


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