Using the F-H System to write Viewpoint + Interiority

Just as a movie director works with camera, a fiction writer works with viewpoint.  The camera determines the image on the screen, and the viewpoint determines the perspective of the writing.  In the F-H system, this viewpoint must be subjective.  It must include a “me.”

As far as Foster-Harris is concerned, when writing fiction, the subjective and the emotional are good, and the objective and the intellectual are, at best, a necessary evil.  This is very different from most modern fiction styles, and it is the reverse of journalistic and academic writing.  The argument is that the power of journalistic and scholarly writing is in their objective truth, because we have a stake in knowing the truth, whereas the power of fiction is in its ability to reach our subjective emotions.  The idea is to establish an emotional stake even in the absence of truth.

Basically, we do this by describing the viewpoint character as if he were us.  We put ourselves imaginatively through the viewpoint character’s experiences and write that as our story.  When the reader reads it, he goes through the experiences of the viewpoint character and has the corresponding emotional response.  So it’s really very complicated, especially when you consider that either the author or the reader might or might not sympathize with the viewpoint character.

But we won’t get that complicated here:  this is a basic storytelling system, and the seven following rules are meant for the relatively simple case, described above, where the viewpoint character mediates the author’s emotions to the reader.

Rule One:  There must be one viewpoint character in your story at any time.  (more…)

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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