Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint
Orson Scott Card
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Orson Scott Card presents practical, in-depth instruction on how fiction writers can make the best choices in creating characters and handling viewpoint. The author shows how to put original yet realistic people into fiction.'
home are never “present” in the story, and yet her relationship with them is very important. Or perhaps as she tries to get along with her aunt and uncle, she finds that the real difficulty is her long-dead grandmother — the mother of her father and her uncle, a woman who always favored the girl’s father and disapproved of the uncle. At first the girl will agree with the grandmother’s assessment of the uncle, especially because the uncle clearly feels a strong antipathy toward the girl.
Wondering You can help ideas come “by chance,” however, by simply keeping your mind working — by often filling your mind with speculation. What if? What if I lost my eyesight? What would I do then? What if I accidentally threw away something priceless? Who might find it? How would I go about finding it? What could you possibly throw away without realizing it had value? A lottery ticket, of course. Anything else? A letter by someone famous. A priceless book. A jewel you thought was fake. An
end until the world is balanced, justified, reordered, healed — or utterly destroyed beyond hope of restoration. It’s as if you begin the story by pushing a boulder off the top of a hill. No matter what else happens before the end of the story, the reader will not be satisfied until the boulder comes to rest somewhere. That is your first contract with the reader — you will end what you began. Digressions will be tolerated, to a point; but digressions will almost never be accepted as a
watch him being intellectually incisive. The one time we see him in the classroom, lecturing, he is rather bumbling and confused — distracted by a coed who has written a come-on message on her eyelids. Yet whenever things go wrong, Indiana Jones comes up with a brilliant — or dumb-lucky — solution. He’s smart, but he isn’t intelligent. The audience loves a character who solves problems and knows exactly the right facts when he needs them — but they don’t like a character who flaunts his superior
calm” or “I’d beat the crap out of him” — but it all falls apart, I promise you. When I felt the gun barrel in my back, all I could think was Please don’t kill me I’m not done with living yet. In other words, I started to whine inside. I started to wish I had more money to give him, thousands of dollars, just to reward him for letting me live. That passage was a first-person narrative. The direct address to the reader told a little hypothetical second-person tale about the reader’s supposed