8. The Seven Deadly Perils of Style
Page 3 of 10 | Derivative Plots | Grammar and Usage | Viewpoint Wobbles | Viewpoint Transitions | Said-bookisms |
| AWAKS and Infodumps | Xblmrph | Out of Character | Bad Science | Taking Liberties |
We talked in the last section about the commonly used technique called third-person limited, in which the narrator or author's voice takes a limited role generally only telling the reader what the characters know, and in particular telling only what the current viewpoint character knows.
This is a versatile and powerful way to tell a story. But it has a pitfall that even many published authors fall into the viewpoint wobble, or a sudden, jarring shift in viewpoint.
Read the following short passage, which I have just made up:
So far, so good.
And then we heard Sarah's thoughts.
Not so good.
That's what's called a viewpoint wobble. The reason it's bad is that it breaks the illusion we have of being inside Dennis's head, and wrenches us without warning into Sarah's. It's jarring to the reader, and it breaks the spell, even if just for a moment.
Course content copyright © 2005 Jeffrey A. Carver