For today’s writing prompt we will take one last look at POV. This is one you may not expect, though.
The Point of View we are going to examine is yours, the writer.
As the producer of the work, you have a unique look at the entire project. Unless you work as a team on a co-author project, you are in this position alone, and you are the only one that will ever see “everything.”
As you have no doubt seen, I cover a lot of writing tips and tricks that take place outside your book. Things like planning your timeline before and after your story takes place.
We do character interviews to help our characters become real people, and much more.
PSSSST… if you sign up for the Extra Draft Newsletter you can get free downloads. One of those downloads is a 130+ question character interview sheet to help you learn more about your characters.
The main problem is that no one truly thinks about this POV, it is a part of the story, it doesn’t add anything to the book. Or does it?
We talked about the God-Mode style (3rd person omniscient) where the narrator has unique insight so the reader can see and hear all characters, thoughts and actions.
But when you are writing the story, you are the god. You already know all of these things. Even if you decide not to type them up, you still know what character X is thinking, or wanting to say. You know the future, you understand the past and most importantly, you understand the entire plot.
None of these are things the reader will experience. And if you think it doesn’t influence your story, you are sorely mistaken.
Your Point of View is a Disability
Knowing everything about your story makes you bling to the small things.
For example, you may write that a certain character does something… walks with a limp, or always wears an apple pin on their coat lapel. You know the reason behind this. You planned it out in the character arc phase and you know that it was from something traumatic that happened when the character was three.
However, you don’t introduce the character to the reader until that character is 39. Maybe you leave out the traumatic experience because it doesn’t push your story forward. The next scene when they have to move the pin to a new coat, you know the reason why and you just write that it happens.
But now, your reader has a question, and not the good kind, because this one won’t ever be answered.
You can overcome this through many outlets. Beta readers, for example, may point out these oversights. But you can practice catching them for yourself, and that is what today’s prompt is for.
Create a scene where your MC is trapped in a cage. Their only means of escape is to pick the lock with an old pen they always have in their hip pocket.
Today’s prompt is going to be an extreme example, but I think you will be able to extrapolate from it for your own WiP.
The scene takes place inside a cage. This can be any kind of cage, and you can decide the reason they are there.
Your MC should have no prior knowledge of lock picking, just for an extra challenge. But they understand the idea and concept and happen to have an old pen in their hip pocket to use as a lock pick, somehow.
Here is where your knowledge comes in.
As you write this scene, I want you to focus on the lock picking. Maybe add excitement by having the captor just outside the door or a trained watch dog walking around.
When you have written your MC to freedom go back over your scene and read it again.
Does it have all the scene elements? Is there excitement and danger and dialogue?
Now go back and read it again. This time concentrate on the pen used to escape. Did you describe the pen? Was the MC able to break it apart to use the pieces of it for a lock pick?
I am willing to bet though (unless you are reading this part first, which… stop.. write your scene then continue), you didn’t mention why the MC has the pen.
Maybe you touched on that it was a gift from grandpa or a high school graduation present.
Did you explain why the MC always has the pen on them?
If you didn’t, the pen becomes a Deus ex Machina. This is a bad thing.
The MC needs to have a reason to always carry this pen. It is old, probably has no ink. So why keep it?
Understand that in your WiP these types of oversights are going to be much smaller. But you need to keep them in mind.
Not every explanation will push the story forward. But, if you can explain the smaller details quickly, the reader is more likely to believe.
Now you can go back and fix your scene. Add in a few details about why the MC has the pen, make it believable and your escape scene is much better for it, from a readers perspective.
When you are all done, post your scene in the comment section so we can all marvel at your escape techniques.