Linda Johnson


It does no one any good to bury them in information, even if it’s endlessly interesting.

Most people who read the Harry Potter books don’t need to know that Hagrid and McGonagall are seven years apart or where the Sorting Hat came from. They’re fun pieces of information to know but are unnecessary in the books because they don’t do anything to push the plot forward.

When you’re writing your story, your main goal is to push your story forward. POV is simply a tool to best carry your story on, not a crutch to throw information at your readers.

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In Smoke by Dan Vyleta, there are a number of scenes told from the perspective of a passerby or one-off characters. These add depth and dimension to events and other characters because the reader has an additional lens through which to view the story.

However, these scenes become more and more frequent as the story moves along and instead of pushing the story forward, the act more as a way to slow the story down, including scenes that beat the dead horse when it comes to information or reflection on characters’ actions. Some of these scenes are unnecessary and degrade the quality of the story, rather than adding to the reader’s enjoyment.


Lastly, I wanted to make a note on using letters and journal entries in your stories.

Letters and journal entries are special for a variety of reasons. Even if you’re telling a story from the perspective of the letter writer or journaler, reading their own words is a poignant way of connecting the reader to their heart.

Letters, by nature, require more forethought. They allow someone to write purely, with intention and thought. Letters have a purpose of carrying information, whether it’s explaining an important backstory, reconnecting two characters who lost each other, or conveying a character’s truest emotions, letters are the bridge to a character’s deeper heart.

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Journal entries, on the opposite side of the spectrum, are generally free flow. A journal entry is similar to a stream of conscience. The character can ask questions and find answers that they may have difficulty doing so as the narrator of the story.

Letters and journal entries both provide an additional peek into the heads of your characters, and they don’t rob the reader’s attention or cause confusion.

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