"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: August 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Point Of View In Writing

Dear Fellow Writer,

The season is changing. It's time for new goals, new hope and improved results.

Getting things done is about focus. Because you get what you focus on.

Want a better life? Focus on that.

Want to write more books, faster, and make money writing? Focus on those goals.

What could be simpler?

Keep writing!


Your Point of View in Writing

Your Point of View in Writing

The issue of how to deal with point of view in writing presents problems for many new writers. However, the principle is simple to grasp.

Here's a mental exercise for you:

You are you. You know who you are and you know what you think. Fine so far.

Imagine you walk into a room. There's someone else there. You can see her: what she looks like, whether she's nice or nasty looking. You can hear her talking. You can smell her perfume. There are all sorts of things you might describe about her.

But what is the one thing you cannot do?

Easy. You cannot know what she is thinking. 

You cannot know what motivates her unless she tells you. You cannot know anything about her background unless she shares it with you. Got that?

Now, when you're writing, the character who's telling the story is the same: a person with limited, or nonexistent, psychic abilities. Therefore, your point of view character CANNOT KNOW what is inside the head of any other character.

New writers often make the mistake of telling a story from one character's point of view and then, because they want to be thorough, or explain things, they start describing other characters' motivations and back story - all things the point-of-view character cannot know.

Only God knows what everyone is thinking. And the author is not God. You are a mere writer who must write via a point of view character.

Authorial omniscience tends to throw the reader out of the fictive dream.

More simply, one character knowing what's in another character's head feels wrong to the reader and the reader therefore stops believing the story.

This is because omniscience implies there's an author telling the story, instead of a character. And, as I've said many times before: the author has no place in a story.

Once readers get a whiff of the author, they lose interest in the story because the fiction is no longer believable.

The fact is, nobody wants to know what an author thinks.

This may be a hard concept to grasp but ultimately your writing is not you.

It is a reflection of you, yes, but through a lens, in the same way that an actor is not a person but rather the character he or she is playing. Do you see the difference?

Your writing is not YOU.

Your written pieces are artificial constructs designed to inform, entertain or to challenge.

But the work you create will always be separate from you, the person.

Bearing this counter-intuitive fact in mind should actually make your writing easier. It certainly helps when it comes to editing. Because when you lose your personal attachment to your work, you become more able to see whether the words are working effectively. You begin to see your writing through the eyes of others, which can only make you better.

One of the other essential things to remember is that when you're writing, you're NOT creating sacred texts.

Not everything you write will be usable or publishable.

Indeed, around 80% of your writing output will probably never see the light of day.

Even the most successful authors have vast reserves of writing that will always remain unseen, hidden away, not for public consumption.

Much of a writer’s output will be average, disposable, words on pages, the writer filling in time, experimenting with different writing forms or with attempts at developing certain ideas and/or themes. Lots of writing that really has no place outside of the author's computer or filing system.

But this is good news because it takes the pressure off.

It means that at any one time the likelihood of the thing you're writing RIGHT NOW will be in that 80% is fairly high, almost guaranteed in fact.

Most successful writers will have at least one million words written that will always remain hidden from the world before and after they get published. This is as it should be.

Writers whose every word is genius is a myth. Having everything you write published is never going to happen - and you wouldn't want that anyway. And just like being a carpenter, nobody gets to see all the chairs you've ever constructed, only the good ones get you rich, famous and appreciated.

Really, it's okay to dump entire novels. It's okay to write several drafts of a book, a short story or an article. It's okay to work for months on a screenplay that never gets off the ground. That's what being a working writer is about.

Because here is the true secret behind being a successful writer:

Not being motivated by what writing can bring, but being entirely happy with the writing process itself.

You should write purely for the love of writing. Period.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Elements of Story: Character, Agenda & Plot

Dear Fellow Writer,

ONE DOLLAR book deal now on - ONLY FOR the next three hours!

You read that right. My latest mammoth writing resource is available right now for 99 cents!

Elements of Story

PLEASE NOTE: The price of 99 cents is based on the US retail price. Anywhere else in the world is quoted at the equivilent price in your own currency. If by chance the price is higher, Amazon tells me that is the because that they have no control over your country's pricing. Whatever the price in your country, it is the lowest it will ever be for just the next three hours! CLICK HERE

ALSO: My apologies if you miss the ONE DOLLAR offer. The cut off point is timed and is out of my control. 

Keep writing!


Elements of Story: Character, Agenda & Plot

How To Create Perfect Stories for the Modern Marketplace That Will Sell

This brand new book from Rob Parnell, "the world's foremost writing guru", represents a thorough examination of commercial story writing that investigates the fundamentals necessary for a modern author to progress in this most competitive of fields, whether your choice is to write short stories, novels or screenplays.

Rob Parnell, the bestselling Kindle author of the acclaimed Easy Way to Write series, presents "Elements of Story: Character, Agenda & Plot", a new book that will help expand and deepen your understanding of inspiration, idea-development, characterization and its relation to agenda, plotting and story creation.

Character, they say, is where all fiction starts. That's the accepted view. But Rob questions whether this is truly the case. Is there some other, more intuitive starting point?

And is there a knack - a simpler way - of coming up with compelling and memorable characters, plots and effective templates for your short stories, novels and screenplays?

There is indeed and Rob reveals all within the pages of this fascinating treatise on author purpose and the nature of fiction.

In "Elements of Story: Character, Agenda and Plot", Rob Parnell lays bare the arguments for and against the conventional theories on story creation and then goes further, exposing their positives and some of their limitations, before moving on explain a more effective way of maintaining authorial integrity in order to create truly compelling and commercial stories that may guarantee success whether you choose to self-publish or submit your stories, books and screenplays to editors, publishers and/or producers.

In a sense, fiction has to be more believable than real life, at least to a reader. And willing suspension of disbelief is only achieved through the exercise of disciplined craft. Rob Parnell shows how, by mining your own world-view, you may use fiction as a vehicle for self-expression and entertainment without compromising your values or your duty to seek the truth.

Story is not just about making things up, in other words, it's about being master of your own destiny.

Within the pages of this book, the age old question 'where do ideas come from' is answered. Rob details how to have an endless supply of ideas and how to turn each into a helpful resource for your regular storytelling practice. He examines the various types of characters, their eight key agendas, his classic plot templates and how a fiction writer uses action, agenda and 'show don't tell' to inform and entertain reader with stories they can't put down.

When it comes to writing stories, once you have a good grasp of your characters and their agendas, you can then move on to creating a great plot for your novel, short story, screenplay, play, or even a piece of flash/fan fiction.

Plotting is fundamental to any story. It can make or break the impact of your writing - and your career. But a plot is not merely a sequence of events and emotional story-beats. In order to be truly effective and commercial, a plot must be a profound synthesis of theme, premise, the author's value system and literary skill that complements and enhances the reader's world-view. Rob Parnell explains, in simple language, how this miracle is achieved, and how you can create stories that will resonate with depth and meaning.

In this book you'll find hundreds of ways to explore and develop ideas and plots, invent effective characters with purpose and create stories that will genuinely affect your readers - and thereby go a long way to ensure your success as a full time author or screenwriter. 
Rob Parnell


The Writing Academy

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