When it comes to the space between our readers and our stories, getting close is what we want.
How close? Closer than you think! But how do we “close the distance” between reader and tale?
This question of distance is one of those dare-I-say advanced topics in writing craft that is often woefully misunderstood—so often, in fact, that well-meaning agents and editors have been known to give terrible advice about it.
I’ll talk about that more in this week’s livestream about zooming in.
My weekly livestream happens on Wednesdays at 1 PM Pacific. Come live and participate! Or catch the replays here on the blog.
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Like the dead mouse your cat proudly drops at your feet, 2020 has offered a number of unasked-for gifts. Fashion masks. The return of the shag haircut. Zoom school. And a new phrase: Social distancing.
Did you ever hear it or say it before this year? Me neither. Ever curious, I looked it up. It turns out “social distancing” was first used back in 2003 at the time of the SARS epidemic, although no one in particular is credited as the author of the term.
The World Health Organization apparently finds the phrase regrettable, and would like us to think of physical distancing instead, since that’s the real message. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, you can socialize all you want; just not in person.
In our writing, narrative distance is one of those writing craft topics too often overlooked. Here’s the question to ask, and you have to answer it sentence by sentence: What distance have you put between your...