Drake climbed on top of a rock overlooking a wide valley. The enemy army stretched as far as the eye could see. He slunk back out of visual range before taking off ripety-tear to inform his commanding officer. After ten minutes of running, Drake skidded to a halt in camp. “Where’s the commander?” He asked.
“I think he went to the outhouse.” An archer said.
“I need to talk to him. It’s very important.” Drake replied.
“Aye, but Commander is attending to business important to him, if ya catch my drift, boy.”
“Enemy armies are amassing on the other side of the ridge. What outhouse is it? This can’t wait.” Drake yelled.
“My orders are to not allow anyone to disturb him. If you do, it will be the last thing you do.”
Let’s dive into all that is wrong with this stinky story, shall we? First off, let me ask, do you care one bit about Drake? Or the situation? What can you tell me about Drake and his character besides the fact he can run for ten minutes?
Cue the crickets.
Don’t bother wasting anymore time thinking out it. There’s nothing there.
Weak POV (Point of View).
POV is the reader’s gateway into the story. How wide the author opens the gate affects the reader’s ability to become immersed. Immersion is a good thing. You want your readers in so deep, they forget to pick the kids up from school, take the dog for a walk, or go to sleep.
POV lets the reader see life through the eyes of someone else, and if done well, creates a sense of intimacy between character and reader. A melding of the minds if you will, sans Vulcans.
In this piece I wrote (inspired by my son’s stories), you see what Drake sees but that’s it. You have no idea what he’s thinking for feeling. You have no idea what the relationship is like between him and the archer or the commander.
Admit it, this scene is boring. Someone pass me the coffee so I can keep writing.
Given that this scene is third person, I am going to make it stronger by re-writing it in 3rd person deep POV. NOTE: italics are no longer used for internal thoughts. It is a writing convention of a by-gone era.
Drake’s heart pumped as he wiped his right hand on his tunic before reaching for the boulder at the top of the hill. Now would be a bad time for his grip to fail. Flattening against the scree slope, he stretched…and stretched…there…almost… There! Got it. His left hand followed suit.
He pulled careful not to knock away any lose stones. As soon as his eyes cleared the top, his body froze. He clamped his jaw to keep the startled cry deep in this throat.
The enemy forces stretched as far as he could see. It looked as if an army of ants covered the valley’s floor. There was no way he could count their number.
Straining, he lowered himself back down and put his hands over his chest. His heart felt as though it were determined to break his ribs.
He was right after all. Nobody believed him when he told the commander he suspected the Haraldbads would follow them. They laughed him off as a foolish boy. Who would be the fool now when he reported back?
Now what can you tell me about Drake and his situation? What does he feel? What is he thinking? How do the others view him? What’s the mood?
I bet you have answers this time.
A strong POV draws the reader into the story, puts the reader into the characters’ heads. Take a look at your own WIP and ask how wide your gateway is open.
With pen to paper,