If Walls Could Talk: School Reunion and POV

M.H. Norris

Laughing at your Ex

After watching a bit of Doctor Who, I got a hold of the commentary for the episode “School Reunion.” Besides introducing me to a woman who would become one of my favorite fictional characters, it taught me a lesson.

Things have different points of view.

One on hand, in “School Reunion,” you can see it from Rose’s point of view. This woman who travelled with the Doctor shows up and she does get a glimpse of what life can look like after being on Team TARDIS.

On the other, you see it from The Doctor’s point of view. He’s run into Sarah Jane Smith. Keep in mind, this Doctor is played by David Tennant who sees Sarah Jane Smith as “the Doctor’s true companion.”

Then again, there’s Sarah Jane’s point of view. She laters tells her rag tag group of co-investigators that for a while she lived with a lot of anger. Anger at being trapped on Earth, anger at the Doctor for leaving her, grief that he might have died, grief her aunt died, grief that she never knew her parents…

We see her realize that while she might not be a member of Team TARDIS anymore (officially that is, she always will be) she can have plenty of adventures right there on Earth. It can always use someone like Sarah Jane Smith.

Same story, three different ways to see it.

School Reunion

Writing is no different. How you connect to a story is the Point of View (POV) of the story. Oddly enough, this isn’t going to be a post on the do’s and don’ts of POV (though I am due for one).

I was working on a short story and wrote the first scene and wasn’t really happy with it. While I stayed with my POV character, I came at it from another angle.

Same story, different side to it.

Sometimes that’s the trick to coming at a story. You change the way you come at it.

Are you Rose?

The Doctor?

Sarah Jane Smith?

You get what I mean. While you might not necessarily change your POV character, you change how she tells the story. Instead of someone sitting at their desk agonizing you into a deep dark pit of telling and not showing, you make them go out and about.

Then lay your groundwork in a different way.

Changes like these are often needed to make a point, to bring a story to its best and strongest form.

And there’s not a wrong way to do it. All three ways to see “School Reunion” are valid and all three give something to the story.

So if your person goes to Place B first when originally they went to Place A there’s nothing wrong with that.

Another good example is Midnight out of the All The Petty Myths anthology. I had to come at that story’s ending from so many different angles. The location changed several times, dialogue came and went, tension built in different ways…

You get the idea.

Stuck on a story?

The problem might honestly be that you need to change how you tell the story. Don’t be afraid to do that.

Your story will thank you.

A wizard's prophecy

If Walls Could Talk: Finishing a Project

M.H. Norris

Projects are unique and funny in a way. Going into a project, you might have expectations but you don’t truly know how it’s going to turn out.

The Whole Art of Detection

There are stories that you finish in a matter of weeks with relative ease. Then there are others that push you to the brink of a nervous breakdown as the deadline looms alongside finals week.

Seriously though, a word of advice.

NEVER, and I mean NEVER, land yourself in the situation where your deadline is the week of finals. Just trust me, it’s not a good place to be.

And then there’s projects like Midnight.

All The Petty Myths is a project that has been a couple of years in the making. The oddest pieces have come from the oddest places and it’s been an adventure for sure.

If you’ve listened to any of the TVCU episodes where I’ve been a guest (if you missed the announcement over on my website and Facebook page, I’m now one of the host of the Television Crossover Universe Podcast), you’ve heard me tease Midnight for months now.

It’s been a labor of love for a long time.

Midnight has been an interesting story and has gone through massive rewrites, a computer crash, more rewrites, plot twists and turns, plot changes for that note, and a lot of agonizing.

This started as a story then morphed into the back door pilot of a mystery series.

A series.

My own mystery series.

But finishing Midnight was a relief. I’ve had a couple stories come late but it’s finally coming together.

After I finished Midnight, I did take a couple days off writing and then I spent a few days not writing on one of the several projects I need to work on (maybe not my best decision) but I wrote for fun. Which is something you need to do now and then.

Finishing a project is something to be proud of. After all, beginnings are easy. The middle can rough waters and an end can leave you wondering WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Endings are hard. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about how I struggle with the end of a story. It’s a balance. You can’t drag it out or your climax loses tension. But you can’t rush it because however many thousand words before that point led up to this moment.

I tend to do the latter.

For the most part, I write my story in order from start to finish and by the time I manage to make it to my climax, I’m ready to be done with it.

I see the finish line and want to take the fastest and easiest route there.

Which not only sells me short as a writer, but has the potential to disappoint my readers.

In hindsight, you would think I’d consider that—considering I hate it when authors do it. But sadly in the moment, that is not something I consider.

When writing an ending, or even when I’m trying to plan it out, I hold myself to the bar I set with Badge City: Notches. Though, let’s be honest, I’m still not sure how I managed that ending.

But, to this day, that is one of my favorite things I’ve written.

It was also written fairly quickly. If memory serves, I wrote it in an afternoon.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case with endings.

Midnight, the first story with Rosella, gave me a lot of grief with its climax.

In fact, it took me several weeks to write. Several weeks, several drafts, several versions, several locations actually. Rosella and I couldn’t figure out how we wanted to make it work.

The Whole Art of Detection’s end went fairly quickly. I think maybe two rewrites and it was more of a “the ending fell flat let’s fix that” kind of thing.

Like people, stories are unique. The experience of writing them is unique.

And finishing a story, that’s something special. So push yourself and make it to the finish line. Because it is worth it.

If Walls Could Talk: Writing Your Own Words

M.H. Norris

Have you ever noticed how unique and different people are?

99129170_7d542023a6_o

If you’ve spent any time people watching to develop characters, you’ve seen it first hand. People all do things different, see the world differently, and that’s what makes things fun.

And frustrating. But that’s a discussion for another blog post.

Have you realized that no two authors write the same. Sure, ghost writers have more or less mastered the art of imitation but that’s all that is, imitation.

Writing is the most public private thing a person can do. I know from experience that every writer pours out a piece of themselves into their writing. That’s why so often writers complain about the feeling they get when they watch people read their work.

I’ve seen people tell a story different ways.

We’ve all seen stories told in different ways. Take for example Captain America Civil War. There’s the movie that came out earlier this year which was based off of a series of comic books. Then, someone wrote a novelization for the movie. Same story, told three different ways.

And yes, you see differences in all three. The comic involved a lot more characters than the book and movie but the premise and heart of the story one were similar enough.

Another example is a TV show. Tons of writers get involved with a show and while the show has the same feel episode to episode you come to anticipate or expect more from one writer or another.

Because everyone has their own style.

Week to week I sit here and tell you ways you can improve your writing.

But I won’t ever tell you to write in a certain style.

Because that’s not my place. It’s your job to find a style that is unique as you are and use it to tell your story. Each of us has a story we are telling and sometimes it’s finding the best way to tell it.

Here’s an example for you.

I had an idea pop in my head and I’m debating on the best format. I’m thinking it’s a show in the making so maybe I’ll someday get around to writing the idea down and tuck it away for later.

And sometimes you should try writing outside your usual style, your usual genre, for the fun of it. That’s how I spent my weekend, I wrote something I usually wouldn’t write.

It will probably go nowhere, but I had a blast doing it.

Don’t’ forget, writing is something you should have fun doing, something you should love. It’s a journey that repeats itself over and over again. And part of that is finding your style and writing that way.

Maybe you want to write a screenplay or a stage play. Maybe you want to write a story in a series of poems or letters or diary entries.. Maybe you want to do it in comics.

That’s your choice to make.

And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

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