NaBloPoMo#30 Viewpoint, Character, and Plot

“No writer sitting down at his typewriter can be absolutely  sure what will emerge.” This quote is by Foster-Harris in The Basic Patterns of Plot,  Copyright by the University of Oklahoma Press, fifth printing.

At my typewriter, I have found his statement to be true and as much worth remembering as Hemingway’s famous line “all it takes is one true sentence.”

My copy of  “The Basic Patterns of Plot” was in my hands more than it was on the shelf as I studied how to write. The worn copy is still the favorite of my how-to-write books.

From the correspondence writing classes through the University of Oklahoma, and from this book in particular, I learned the basics on viewpoint, character, and plot.

According to Foster-Harris, “The purpose of the viewpoint is to locate, focus, limit, and define the story.”

My novel, Call of the Cadron,  is told from the viewpoint of the protagonist, Jordan Diane Maxey.  A few chapters are presented through the viewpoint of two other characters.

Call of the Cadron came off the press in May 2012. I self-published it through my company, Nic Baker Books.  I still have much to do to market the book but I’m having a good time.  Just to hold my book in my hands is the fulfillment of a dream.

Do you have a favorite book that has helped you through a struggle in writing?

I highly recommend The Basic Patterns of Plot, which is out of print now, but sometimes it’s available as a used book. Even though it may be a costly item, I can tell you it’s  worth it.        —Freeda Baker Nichols



Looking Through the Door into the Hemingway Barn-Studio

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

From My Notes:

At the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, I put my pen to  paper to write and I look around, thinking, “Hemingway was actually here in this barn-studio, in this house, on these grounds.”  I’m impressed and excited when I think of that.  After all, he received the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.  And I love his story, “The Old Man and the Sea.”  If only I could write like him.

In June of 2007, I attended my second Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas and signed up for the next one.  Because writing is a lonely job, it’s encouraging to gather with other writers.  The Retreat inspires writers to reach toward goals at their own pace, in their own way.  I always leave eager to create new stories as well as finish my stories-in-progress,

At one of the retreats, I set my goal to finish my first novel at the end of 2010, but it was one year later that I completed “The Call of the Cadron,” a 200-page fiction, set in Arkansas. In May, 2012, I had a printed copy in my hand. My self-publishing experience has been both rewarding and successful.

In November 2012, the staff at the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas hosted a book signing for me, along with two other authors, Donna Austin and Jo McDougall.

This year of 2013 is the first time  in seven years I’ve missed attending the Writers’ Retreat in Piggott. Sometimes other things become my priority, but writing is my destiny and always on my mind and in my heart.  The poem below is one I wrote at the Retreat and it was published in the Retreat’s brochure.


Although I try, how can I write like him,
a writer honored with the Nobel Prize?
I watch the robins light on dogwood limb
and hear the sorrow in their constant cries.
Have they descended from red-breasted birds
that looked for worms in cool of early dawn
and sang contented songs with smoothest words
when Hemingway once strolled across the lawn?

Today, I write from break of day to dark,
not far from Ernest’s barn loft studio,
beside an oak where lightning cracked tough bark.
Goodbye, great oak.  How sad you have to go!
If I create one sentence that is true,
might I be worthy of the Nobel, too?

© 2006, Freeda Baker Nichols

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers' Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Freeda Baker Nichols at her book signing at Hemingway Writers’ Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway's Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

Cat and kittens at Hemingway’s Barn Studio in Piggott, Arkansas

“All You Have to do,” said Hemingway, “is Write One True Sentence.”

On location at Piggott, Arkansas–
where Hemingway worked at his studio
to create stories that are famous now–
I, too, attempt to write.  Will I succeed?

In spring and fall, I meet with writer friends–
each working to attain a writing goal.
Some strive to pen the best in poetry
while others plot the greatest mysteries.

If Ernest’s friends critiqued his early work
those days in Paris when they socialized,
why not believe that we, as friends, can help
each other to become good writers, too?

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Writers’ Retreat–
a time when dedicated mentors lead
the writers on to reach their highest goals–
my aim is “one true sentence” in a book.

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols