There are moments within the writing process where an author may lose her ability to effectively narrate the story due to an inability to empathize. The greatest writers are blessed (or cursed) with heightened empathy. Empathetic writers provide truth and vulnerability to delicate or dynamic scenarios. They write from a place of understanding and equality not from an observation mindset, which typically fills pages with judgmental and inaccurate representations.
Eliminating barriers and breaking down preconceived notions is the essential first steps in writing a truthful portrayal. Add a layer of reality to complex scenes by writing said scene through the characters’ POV (Point of View.)
The concept of point-of-view (POV) writing shouldn’t be foreign to most writers. Those who are unaware, POV stories are written in first-person style from the mind of the character. The easiest way to tap into this mode of storytelling is to act as if you are the internal monologue of the character. What the character thinks in his private thoughts are made known to you, which are then written. The beauty of POV writing is the option to explore various thought avenues regarding a single scenario. Take time to uncover the various paths a character could choose. Select the thoughts and emotions based on character history (call upon character biographies and outlines – haven’t written them? Don’t fret, check out my article on Character Biographies and Character Outlines)
Mode of Writing (Short Story; Journal Entry Style)
Many writers feel it necessary to create the POV document in standard screenplay formatting. While not necessarily unfavorable in terms of character and story development, my experience beckons writers to forgo script formatting and structure for POV exploration. Rather, probe into adjacent writing style and create the POV scene in short story format. Ideally, the POV document reads like a mixture of short story fiction and a journal entry. However, all writers are different. Chose a mode of creation that supports your creative process.
Application of Experience
Now that the “experience” is written and the writer has taken a break from living in the mind of his character(s), what’s next? The first step in analyzing the document is re-reading previously written material to then compare existing story lines and character arcs with the new, intimate relationship between character and writer. Answer the following two questions:
Does the inner monologue and thought process of the character match with how they were previously written/perceived?
What differences exist between previous character choices and actions and how the inner monologues of the character were written?
These two queries stimulates comparisons between how the writer once approached the character and how the writer actually wrote the characters’ internal monologue and viewpoint. Only place weight on this comparison if the POV document accurately reflected character personality and history as outlined in the character biography/outline.
If differences exist, determine if the newly created personality, historical, internal changes made to the character require scenes to be re-written and relationships to be reconfigured.