3. Character Perspective

Created by Captain Daenelia Bradley on Thu Oct 31st, 2013 @ 10:33am

Narrative mode

To tell a story writers use a narrative mode which best suits the way in which they tell a story. On Steamhawke we write collaboratively, which means there are many writers with different 'narrator voices'. The goal is to smooth our narrative styles. Though we can all hold on to our personal style, it should be very hard for a reader to see the 'joints' in our posts. Our narrative style should be consistent, at least.

Third person, omniscient narrator

This is the standard narrative mode for Steamhawke. Omniscient means 'know everything that goes on in the story' and refers to you as the writer. This is why you should read all the posts by every other writer. You cannot plot correctly without knowing what is going on.

As a writer, you are allowed to just represent your character's voice and perspective. If you do, make it very clear to the readers that they are reading the character's interpretation of facts, and do not present them as 'the way it is'.

What your character knows ...

As a writer you can know more than what your character knows. You read posts about events that your character is not involved in. It is then up to you to decide how much of that can be known by your character. If a post is written in a locked room, with no windows and no way to listen in, you are going to have to explain how your character can know the things that went on there. Consider that in most cases it will make more sense for your character not to be aware of events they have not been in.

At the same time, sometimes it can be a great plot twist to decide your character does know certain things. And in some cases, it would make no sense for your character to not be aware of major plot twists. Again: unless not knowing makes for a great twist. Confusing? You as the writer are omniscient, at least: more omniscient than your character. Other writers can still 'hide' plots from you, and surprise you with twists.


Small plot: McGinty meets with his long lost brother and has a conversation about how he used to be captain of an old, but well known sky ship. No other characters are present in the post, which takes place in a pub.

Your character does not need to know this. You can decide your character is unaware. But as the writer, you can contact the writer of the post and discuss possibilities. Maybe your character's father was on McGinty's ship, and was killed by him for treason. Plotting with the other writer to build this storyline, will also build a relationship between McgInty and your character. Post possibilities will ensue.

Your character was also in the pub and overheard this. Maybe he decides not to do anything with the information. Maybe he decides to find out more about the ship mentioned. Again, this is a great plot option.

Example 2

Small plot: McGinty meets with his long lost brother and has a conversation about how he used to be captain of an old, but well known sky ship. No other characters are present in the post, which takes place in locked room.

It is unlikely you can place your character anywhere near the conversation. Your character can't know these facts. But you as the writer know it, and can use it to plot with the writer to make your character aware of the fact that McGinty once was a captain of a skyship.

Meshing and merging

Why is collaborative writing attractive? Because you can write what you are best at, and learn from others to improve what you feel unsure about.

For instance, Five is good at action scenes. Dae feels she is better at writing dialogue. When writing together, Five gets stuck with parts of the dialogue, which Dae then adds in for all characters. Dae gets stuck with a fight scene, so Five writes that in, moving all the characters. They can discuss and shape things before posting, making edits in the dialogue and in the fight scene. By doing this, they both learn to deal with the bits they feel less sure about. It is like mentoring each other and they both learn a great deal about writing.

People have remarked that the writing styles of Five and Dae are almost indistinguishable. It is hard to see who has written what bit in a post. In fact, it is even difficult for Five and Dae to remember who wrote what. All that stands is a great post, which they enjoyed writing. Whether a scene was written by one or the other, or a sentence was a conctruct of two or three sentences by the both of them is irrelevant. This is why we write collaboratively: the ego of the writers is less important than crafting a great story together.

Categories: 5. Character Control

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