Sunday, September 10, 2017
Don’t run. This is NOT a discussion of how to avoid multiple points of view in a scene. I'm tired of that lecture, too.
I learned a trick for creating unforgettable characters when I wrote short stories—SELECT THE NARRATOR OF YOUR TALE CAREFULLY. I realize this isn’t a new concept. Ishmael in Moby Dick and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby certainly shaped those tales.
Before I wrote my short stories, I interviewed dozens of acquaintances about their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. In several cases, I listened to tales about the same person from siblings or spouses. I also knew several of the women described. I quickly recognized that reality depends on the eyes of the beholder, i.e.narrator.
Then I wrote vignettes with surprising plot twists about mothers in the 1940s and 1950s (THEGOOD OLD DAYS?) and modern women (OTHER PEOPLE'S MOTHERS). The women in each story made choices. The narrators of the stories often didn’t understand the basis of the decisions because of incomplete information or personal biases. Accordingly, they warped the portraits of the women, and I could develop the characters to be more memorable.
Even if you don’t usually read short stories, try these tales. They’re short three to fifteen pages (great bed time reading). They might encourage you to experiment with a different point of view in your next story.
You might also consider your mother differently or think about your parenting style.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS? (https://www.amzn.com/dp/1537743813) & OTHER PEOPLE'S MOTHERS (https://www.amzn.com/dp/1544895011 are available on Kindle & in paperback.