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Our CWC members listen to announcements and participate in the 'membership engagement' activitiy: Describe your BEST Chistmas in six words.

Here are the top five:

Not one shot fired that night. --  Jack Hemphill  (Winner)

No tree. No gifts. Much love. -- Sally Griffin (Winner)

Found Dad setting up Santa's gifts. -- Rocky

The year the kids slept late.  -- Susan Wilson

Dad home from Vietnam; new bike! - David Radavich

Others to be posted soon:

David Poston, Contest Chair shares judge Wiley Cash's credentials and his comments on the winning entries.

Sarah Parisi reads from her 3rd place entry Private Back Yard.

Judge comments: This story scared me to death, from the slow lull of Linda's morning to the horrifying closing sentence in which an intruder tells her "It's okay." This story felt more like a tease than a flash fiction. It felt like something was beginning, and I would have followed this beginning anywhere the author wanted to take me.

David Poston reads Gina Malone's 2nd place enty Table Talk.

The judge's comments: "Table Talk spoke to me because the author was able to cram so much of the man's (and woman's) life into 500 words. Wilma is a devoted wife to a good man named Halford.  Halford is presented wtihout melodrama, a feat that seems impossible given the limitations of  space.  The writer, much like Alice Munro, steers clear of easy sympathy by relying on relevant detaisls and character traits. The ending, while not completely surprisingy, is wholly resonant.  This not a story that sets out to surprise; this is a story that sets out to resonate, which it does.

Landis Wade reads from Gary Powell's First Place entry Breakage.

The judge's comments: This story ran me through a gamut of emotions: humor, grief, sadness, fear. "Breakage" does what the best flash fiction does: it gives you a complete perspective on a life (or lives) while isolating a theme and seeing it through to its conclusion. This story gives an incredibly nuanced and powerful sense of who this couple is and who they become.

Kathy Collins, Program Chair, introduces December's speaker Jeff Jackson.

Jeff says, "Point of view should be clay you can mold and not steel that imprisons you."

Jeff Jackson shares his take on Point of View
1st person POV: 
Sometimes, it’s interesting to have your story narrated by the character who knows the least about what’s happening. You see this in Terrence Malick’s movie Days of Heaven, a love triangle narrated by a young girl who stand outside it and doesn’t entirely understand it. This can create an interesting tension and take a very familiar situation and make it fresh.
Advantages of 1st person POV: 
- Intimate voice: direct connection to the reader
- Full access to a character’s thoughts and consciousness
- Personality: If narrator is particularly chatty and observant, that gives your story its texture and appeal 

Disadvantages: 
- Limited by what your character knows and see
- No access to inner worlds of other characters
- Narration can start to feel claustrophobic or annoying 
 
2nd person POV: 
Advantages:
The “You” POV can initially feel very compelling and it’s an energetic way to launch into the action of a story. You’re as close to the reader as possible in many ways.

Disadvantages:  
It’s hard to sustain and calls attention to itself. Often it’s best used in small doses. 
3rd person POV:

Some options: 
- Omniscient narrator that knows everything and can have access to everyone’s thoughts; sometimes this sort of narrator shares a lot of information and offer opinions, and sometimes is more of an observer. 
- Limited third person – doesn’t know everything, has access to some characters thoughts but not all.
- Close third person – generally tracks one character’s thoughts, as if they’re hovering right over the character’s shoulder, more objective than first person but tints the story with the character’s personality.  

Sometimes these narrators have a distinct personality that comes through and sometimes they’re more transparent and you barely notice they’re there.

Where to be careful: Sometimes the objectivity of 3rd person can leech the energy and personality from the story. 
 
Additional thoughts: 
There are no hard-and-fast rules about POV outside of the specific work. Each work creates its own narrative rules, including point of view.

* POV is clay for you to mold, not steel to imprison you.

If there’s an internal logic to what you’re doing and you handle it smoothly, readers will give you a lot of latitude – and often barely notice that you’re warping POV to your purposes.
If you use multiple POVs, it’s important to note how every POV switch is an emotional switch. In "Sarah Cole: A Love Story" by Russell Banks, the short story that switches between 1st person and 3rd person; narrator talking about a failing romantic relationship, when he hits a memory that’s too painful he narrates it in 3rd person. Masterful showcase of how each POV operates in different ways.
My new novel “Destroy All Monsters” includes 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person POVs - each used at key points in the story to dramatize different types of scenes, share different types of information, and create distinct emotional landscapes

Charlotte Writers' Club
Charlotte Writers' Club

P.O. Box 220954
Charlotte, NC 28222
 
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