f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Strengths and Weaknesses Day 3 – The Heart of the Story

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Strengths and Weaknesses Day 3 – The Heart of the Story

These are the things, I think, that most people think about when they think about writing. They’re a bit less technical than yesterday and so writers’ artistry and creativity are often wrapped up in them.

1. Setting – Place – Do you efficiently and precisely bring out the setting of story? Do you allow “place” to be meaningful in your story without overwhelming it?

2. Setting - Time – Do you know when every scene happens both within the context of the story and, if necessary, within a greater historical context? Is your setting accurate to (or evocative of) its intended time period?

3. Point-of-view – Do you select the most effective point-of-view for your story? Are you consistent? Does your selected point-of-view explain why the story is being told?

4. Voice – Does your writing evoke a “voice” inside readers’ heads? Does that voice change for (and match) different characters, situations, and/or POVs?

5. Tone – Does your story, as a whole, leave your reader with an intentional resounding feeling or sense?

6. Characterization – Are your characters vibrant, three-dimensional, and authentic? Do they sound like themselves and not like each other? Are they stripped of stereotypes and clichés? Do they have a point in the story? Do they have a motivation in the story?

7. Dialogue – In short, does it fit in the character’s mouth and sound authentic coming out of them? Is it serving to highlight character rather than act as exposition?

8. Exposition – Do you know what exposition is and not confuse it with narration? Are you able to give us the requisite backstory and any necessary details about character or plot without stopping the narration and without manipulating characters or arranging contrived scenes? Is your exposition true to the POV you’ve chosen?

9. Narration – How does your story flow? How does your plot move from A to B to G to M to Z? Are there contrivances and ghosts in the machines? Is their a defendable logic to the story (particularly the internal logic of characters) that never causes readers to exot their willing suspension of disbelief?

10. Scenes – Do you use scenes to ebb in and out of narration? Do you avoid turning scenes in narration/exposition? Do they stay true to POV and character? Are they intentionally entered and exited?
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Go to Day 4 of Evaluating Your Strengths and Weaknesses