Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Contributor
Griff
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎05-07-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Thanks for the info.


As soon as GWW posts the schedule for the next Master's I'll submit a request to attend. I didn't make the last one because I was just finishing up the Level II course and taking an Edciting class at Rice.
Griff
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Hey there,

I've written the Lazarus story with the POV of the old lady.

What do you think of the story with a serial POV? Having several characters give their point of view. What are the issues with this type of writing?
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Marta, I finished another story and would like to have your thoughts on its form and quality.

Doe
Contributor
TinaSChang
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Serial POV

I find serial POV confusing as a reader. Definitely
at least switch paragraphs when you switch point of
views.

I recently read an excellent novel in serial POV called
"Burning Bright" by Tracy Chevalier. She is answering
questions on a B&N book club right now (May 19, 2007) and
has discussed this with her readers in the "Ask the author"
forum.
Tina S. Chang
Science and Math Fiction

http://profiles.yahoo.com/tinaschangsf

tinaschangsf@yahoo.com
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta



marta_randall wrote:
Doe, this definitely shows improvement -- but you are still loading the narrative with exposition. I think you are trying to cram too much story into too few words -- open it out, especially every place where you start talking about background.





Marta, to understand better. Are you saying instead "explaining why" he's standing....

To get the blood flowing back into his legs, the president stood while reading the next summary.

.... I should describe what he's doing and ignore the "why"

The president stood stretching out his legs. His exhausted eyes never leaving the screen, placing his hands on the small of his back he arched outward hearing the kinks in his spine groan their protest.
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Doe, what I mean is that the story doesn’t start until the eighth paragraph. The material before then is all exposition, that is, it tells the reader about history and background and all that, rather than showing the reader these things in action.

Thanks Marta, I believe I understand now... I'll work on changing the story in next few days.

Just a few theory questions, please.

I would assume a story can't be totally without exposition, therefore it's important to have a mixture. Now my second thought is the mixture percentage...(yes, I'm a degreed accountant and engineer so I like to dig into details, smile) I would assume there is no "exact" mixture or percentage. So my question is, Typically is it better to have a "mostly" low amount of exposition in writing? Is there a time when high amount is desired?

In the case of my story, I wanted the story to have the feeling of a president locked in his office trying to find an impossible answer. I do see how I can still have "things in action" even with the president alone. My second question is, From your comments it's better to not have the writing start out with exposition, correct?

Finally, DON"T GO AWAY I only have about another 1,000 questions to ask you!
New User
Simorgya
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎05-15-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Marta,

When will this group cycle back to the beginning?
Frequent Contributor
marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Doe, the question of exposition in s.f. stories is big and thorny and complicated. Briefly, think about it this way:

The legendary s.f. editor John Campbell said that an s.f. story should read like a mainstream story of the future. What he meant by this is that the future audience would take certain things for granted, so that they didn't have to be explained -- but because we were not writing in the future and our readers aren't reading in the future, we need to figure out how to convey these things without stating the obvious. If you're giving a friend a lift somewhere, you don't deliver a lecture of the workings and history of the internal combustion engine, because (a) both of you already know what you need to know to drive to the store and (b) how much of this do you really need to know, anyway? By the same token, if my protagonist Pete is taking his friend Freda for a ride to the moon, he's probably not going to waste time explaining the workings and history of his spaceship to her. But as a writer, I can convey a lot by saying, for example, that Freda has to leave her boots and jacket behind because they increase the payload over the limit; I can say that she glanced across the room at a porthole and saw a field of stars filling the rim as neatly as a shape punched out by a cookie cutter; I can say that sounds seemed muffled in the tiny cabin. What I am trying to do is to convey exposition in details that make sense in terms of the story, and that help place the reader firmly within the world of the story.

Sometimes you need to just come out and say it: "Civilian moon flights were allowed less than fifty years ago..." but these expositions must not be allowed to get in the way of the action of the story.

In my Gotham class, we spend an entire week talking about exposition in detail -- this is only a hurried and brief mention of the issue.

About your president: borrow some action. Instead of having him thinking in his office, have him take a walk and think as he goes along.

I'll be here through the 31st.
Frequent Contributor
marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Simorgya, I learned this week that this class will end at the end of the month, and is unlikely to be repeated.

Gotham Writers Workshop (www.writingclasses.com) offers very good workshops in s.f. writing -- I am teaching their intro course starting in July. They are not cheap, but I'll see if I can finagle a discount for those of you who are interested.
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Marta,

I want to thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and teach me more about writing than 7 years of college was able to accomplish... (of course I did have a lot more of that silly math stuff to deal with)

Anyway, aside from Exposition content any other issues concerning my sample writing...

I'm sure you have more messages to go through, so again thank you for your effort.

always smiling

do eye o u 2
Frequent Contributor
doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Questions for Marta

Marta,

I have part of the story rewritten taking out the exposition. May I have your comments?
Top Kudoed Authors
User Kudos Count
1
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 619 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: