This is Emma Darwin's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Emma Darwin's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Emma Darwin
I write fiction and creative non-fiction, and I live in South East London.
Interests: fiction, creative non-fiction, novels, short fiction, short stories, historical fiction, academic writing, writing, reading, editing, teaching
Recent Activity
Another excellent suggestion - thanks so much, Linda!
1 reply
Oh, good call, Jennifer! Thanks so much - that's such a good suggestion. And I'm so glad the post and the blot are useful!
1 reply
Obviously I don't know the context - but I agree, as it stands, it reads to me as if they're two different people, because we read "the young man" as the PoV of someone who doesn't know who he is. If you want to locate us inside Robert's PoV, we need something like this: "The van was waiting, the taillights shining against the firewall of the house. Don´t drive away, Robert Schäfer thought. He drew his head in, turned up his coat-collar, and walked more quickly." or "The van was waiting, the taillights shining against the firewall of the house. Don´t drive away, Robert Schäfer thought - but at least his head was drawn in and his coat-collar turned up. He walked more quickly." Another minor PoV misdirection doesn't help, perhaps: a person doesn't quicken their footsteps - the sound is incidental, and something that someone else hears. The viewpoint character would quicken their pace, or speed up their walking, or something like that. Hope that helps. It sounds like the opening of a nice, tense thriller! Emma
1 reply
I would suggest not thinking of them as chunks in the narrative, taking the reader wholesale out of the moment, but - as with the last of my examples, further up - keeping us in "now", showing us "then" through that lens. Sometimes you go almost fully through the lens, with the sense of the "now" consciousness slipping away and what's on the page is pure "then": "Jane started to cry and then Mum scooped her up and carried her out of the house." Sometimes you stay with "now", and show us "then" with Now's understanding: "But she can't remember how old she was, although she must have been heavy: too old to be carried except in an emergency. " If you think of it not as an either/or, but as slipping to and fro between the two, then you just need to decide how completely to slip back - or how much to keep us here.
1 reply
Glad it was useful, Derrick.
1 reply
These things are important! Glad you enjoyed the post.
1 reply
Recently, a blog-reading veteran of our online course in Self-Editing Your Novel - let's call her Caroline - got in touch. Her main character - let's call her Zainab - is shattered by the death of her father and struggling to come to terms with her past choices and actions, as part of working out a new future. Caroline was finding it hard to work out the shape of such a journey, so she sent a very reluctant Zainab to see bereavement counsellor. These scenes weren't for the book, just the most efficient way for Caroline to get her imagination... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Teika, so glad it's hit the spot for you. And, I agree, I think there's a built-in tension for introverts - and yet most writers ARE introverts, because we have to be OK with spending a huge part of our lives alone, inside our own heads. And thanks for spotting that link - it should be this: https://waitbutwhy.com/2014/06/taming-mammoth-let-peoples-opinions-run-life.html and I'll change it in the backend.
1 reply
So glad it's useful, Catherine.
1 reply
Don't worry, Rachel! Happens all the time. If anyone's reading this - this is the link to the post about surviving the submission blues. https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2017/10/your-writing-out-on-submission-welcome-to-hell.html
1 reply
This is the eighth in a series of posts inspired by my new book, This is Not a Book About Charles Darwin, which was published in February. In each post I'll try to shed light not only on the practicalities of what happens when your book is being published, but also the sometimes surprising ways that each stage of the writing life can affect you and your writing. The whole Being Published series is here. Longstanding book industry people and literary types will tell you that reviewing isn't what it used to be - which is true, of course, though... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
Yes, I think it's not obvious to most of us - but actually we all know it, underneath.
1 reply
Hannah, you're welcome - and thank you for the original inspiration!
1 reply
A friend has just asked for advice about how to get over the finishing line of a first draft. They're less than 10,000 words from the end of the first draft "for yourself", and until recently they were powering along, longing to reach the end and get stuck into the second draft "for your reader" - and from thence into the third draft "for your agent". And yet day after day they're procrastinating, dodging, fiddling, doing anything rather than actually getting to the end of the story. I've blogged a lot about procrastination, but this is a very particular case,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2019 at This Itch of Writing: the blog
You're so welcome, Stephen. Thanks for buying the book, and best of luck with the new project!
1 reply
Thanks, Liz! Very useful.
1 reply
So glad you like it, Amanda!
1 reply
Hi Tom - as you'll know from elsewhere on the blog, I don't really get on with those more binary distinctions, finding psychic distance a much more flexible and productive way to wrangle these issues. I think any PoV requires the writer to get stuck into the individual voice and perceptions of that personality, which are of course the product of everything that makes the individual individual: to understand why they behave as they behave, and react as they react. Call that empathy if you like. The writer must then make the choice of how much that personality will colour and inflect what gets told, and how it is told. Even if the writer chooses to stay quite far out, informing us about how the character acts and reacts, the storytelling still needs to be based on that understanding so that the characters' actions and reactions are convincing. And, of course, the more completely the viewpoint personality colours and controls the narrative (the closer-in in psychic distance we go, in other words) the more the writer needs to enter into that characters' experience and point-of-view. So perhaps, yes, you need more empathy to wrangle the closer-in psychic distances? Which might include empathising with some awful people, of course.
1 reply
Hi Zeenath - and, yes, it's a very natural starting place, which is why it needs interrogating as to whether it's the best way to do things. Good luck!
1 reply
Yes, indeed. As long as the moving-out feels very natural, and we're taken elsewhere, we'll be looking in the new direction and not notice what's not being given to us. I think it goes wrong when the reader notices the subterfuge - and so feels the fell hand of the author in witholding stuff.
1 reply
Ava - sorry, only just found this, years later. I'm afraid I don't have a list like that, though I'd love to think that someone has! If you've found one, do let me know!
1 reply
Hello Sachin Chhetri A character means one of the people who does things in the story. They can be the person the story is about, or someone quite minor and unimportant. They're all characters. The narrator is the person, the voice, who is telling the story. It might be a character who also takes part in the events of the story. This is an INTERNAL narrator - because they're INSIDE the story, joining in with the events. We often say the story is "in first person" because the narrative uses lots of first-person pronouns: I did this, I did that, we did something else. Or the narrator might be a storyteller who is not a person in the story at all. This is an EXTERNAL narrator, because they're OUTSIDE the story, narrating events they don't take part in. A narrator like this may not feel very much like a character: they may just be a voice. We often say the story is "in third person" because there is no "I" in the narrative, but only third-person pronouns: He did this, she did that, they did something else. Point-of-view is slightly separate, though of course it's affected by your decisions about characters and narrators. I suggest you go back to the first part of this series, and get to grips with those basics, and then work your way through the rest of the posts: https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2011/10/point-of-view-narrators-1-the-basics.html Good luck!
1 reply
Depends on how the move is handled, I think. It can make a scene amazingly fluent - but only if it's done well.
1 reply
Hi Tara - gosh, was it really 10 years ago? I suppose it was! I'm so glad it's been comforting. And yes, the scholarly stuff can feel a bit dry - or, at least, the need to dot all the Is and cross the Ts of references, and hunting down authorities and stuff, can be very tedious. I don't know if your PhD asks for a critical commentary of any kind on your own process or writing. I have blogged about that - there's a link in the Tool-Kit. One day, I'll get round to putting a link in this post, just haven't managed to do that yet. Best of luck with the rest of the PhD!
1 reply
So glad it's being useful - and thank you for subscribing.
1 reply