Steve Berry

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Writing
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Some of the best takeaways from ThrillerFest earlier this year are sticking with me. In this class (photo below), the iconic Steve Berry does a classic lecture titled “Who’s telling the story?”. This is a great rundown of the major POV’s a story might have and how you can do your best in each. I am a big third person fan. Steve does a great job of teaching what you can do to keep yourself as tight in the skin of your character’s POV as possible. One of the biggest phrases he used was what he called ‘psychic distance’. This was the distance you have between yourself and the character you’re writing/reading. When you typically call them by name, you create a little more distance than using he/she. (This is even a little more distant than first person using ‘I’). You want to be in the eyes of the POV character who’s telling the story. That way we feel every bump, bruise and rush he/she feels. When you’re in the eyes of your character, you wouldn’t typically call them by name, it has a way of creating distance.

He talked about the times when you have several characters in a scene, and sometimes you just have to use a name. You have to keep the story straight. But as soon as possible, he reverts back to the he/she usage to get in as tight to the POV as possible.

I think about this a lot when I’m writing a scene with two women or two men (or more). But if you want to hear it from the masters mouth, ThrillerFest records and sells the CraftFest lectures. I’ve bought several of them and listen to them when I need a refresher. It’s a great way to keep it close to the vest.

I’ve included the links below to get you to the class I mentioned specifically, as well as the overall CraftFest library.

Check it out:
Who’s Telling The Story – Steve Berry
CraftFest CD Library


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