Posted on June 26th, 2011 No comments
Before writing, great novelists must decide which point of view to implement. The option chosen will simultaneously allow for and limit how the author shares information with the reader. For example, a first-person perspective limits the reader to what the main character can see. The writer must find a different way to let the reader know about events the first-person character does not witness. Clever authors tinker with these rules, or find unique ways to apply them. Jane Austen shifts focus to minor characters in Sense and Sensibility. Mary Shelley wraps first-person within epistolary form to create new storytelling techniques in Frankenstein. In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley quickly switches through and weaves together multiple points of view as a musician combines instruments or a film director combines scenes. In addition, the first-person stream of consciousness in J. M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians literally ensures that the reader cannot know what will happen next. It is obvious that each point of view has a different way of affecting how the author pens their story, but when an author gets clever, sensational breakthroughs in narration can occur.
In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen writes with a third-person omniscient point of view. While the narrative mainly lies with Elinor, by keeping third-person, Jane Austen can switch to other characters she deems necessary to provide information to the reader, even if Elinor is not present. This is vital for Austen’s usage of two main protagonists: Elinor—the “sense”—and Marianne—the “sensibility.”
Austen takes this a step further, switching away from the main protagonists to characters relatively unimportant to the bulk of the narrative. The whole of Chapter 2 has neither Marianne nor Elinor present. The characters involved never mention the information discussed within earshot of the two protagonists for the entirety of the story. Since Austen did not limit herself to a single character’s perspective, she can employ this method of telling the readers about Fanny’s reflection of the Dashwood girls’ situation: “Mrs. John Dashwood did not at all approve of what her husband intended to do for his sisters” (Austen 10). Austen goes on to give us the logic behind Fanny’s stance on the matter, followed by a conversation where she manipulates her husband—quite expertly—into agreeing with her. Austen helps the reader understand why the Dashwood girls are in the situation they find themselves in, and manipulates the reader into feeling compassionate for them.
Posted on October 26th, 2010 1 comment
Wow, it has been a while. I’ve been so thoroughly swamped lately that I’ve totally neglected this AND my novel. Which is kind of contradictory, if you think about it, considering I quit my years of IT service to pursue a writing career. You know, where people, uh, write?
–So why does being a writer suck?
Because there’s so much damn WRITING! UGH! First, I’ve enrolled at the local community college here, and although I’ve placed past all the basic writing courses, there’s still two semesters of required composition. There’s nothing more horrid than writing about writing. Rhetorical analysis is one of the most BORING things in the world to do.
–rhetorical analysis – n. the process of breaking down a text into the sum of its parts to determine what the writer is trying to achieve, and what strategies are being employed to achieve it
It is so dry, lacking emotion and clarity, exactly the opposite of what I want to write about.
Besides that, I have to write for my other classes as well, obviously. But, that’s the way it is: before they’ll let me go and write about whatever I want, I have to prove to everyone that I indeed know how to write. Which is no problem, I understand it.
–Though, I have to say, I feel sorry for the other kids in my class. (Yes, kids.) I’ve yet to see proof of academic literacy in any of them. I’d be embarrassed to be their parents.
Outside of that, I’m struggling to make money as a writer in the outside world too. No one wants to pay me for my opinion.
–Really? No shit.
I do have a couple of paying writing jobs right now. One is for a search engine optimization company, writing articles with keywords to boost search engine hits for various websites. I was writing on and off for GearLive.com, I should really start doing that full time, if Andru Edwards still remembers who I am. It’s been a little while. (EDIT: I checked my old GearLive account, it’s been locked down.) That’s fine. I also write tech articles for a couple sites. I used to write for a few more places than I do now, but I had to scale back all of my non-paying jobs for now. It is not cheap being a full-time student!
–Blah, blah, blah.
The bottom line here, is that unfortunately, it takes a long time writing before you get to write about what YOU want to write about. If you truly have the passion, however, you’ll stick with it. I will. I want to get my novel out. I’m going to try and continue the storyline sometime soon. We’ll see.
I hope to try this more regularly. See you next time, people.