Friday, July 13, 2012
Catherine Koehlert-Page's new article reveals intriguing techniques that fiction writers use to control how close or distant the reader feels to a character, techniques legal writers may be able to take advantage of. Her article, "Come a Little Closer So That I Can See You My Pretty: The Use and Limits of Fiction Techniques for Establishing an Empathetic Point of View in Appellate Briefs" , has been published in 80 UMKC L. Rev. 399 (2011).
Here's her summary:
"This article starts from the premise that legal clients have individual truths. To convey those truths and create empathy for clients, appellate brief writers can use fiction point of view techniques. Literary fiction writers often believe that they are telling higher truths. In so doing, they utilize subtle degrees of distance. Thus point of view means more than just first person, third person, or omniscient. It means more than just the character from whom a story's viewpoint is told. It includes the distance that the reader feels from the story, the characters, and the viewpoint character.
"Fiction writers use a variety of techniques to establish that close or distant point of view and create or diminish empathy. I have identified some of these techniques. I have provided good examples from fiction works such as Mystic River, The Book Thief, and A Step From Heaven. I have used books such as Twilight and Eragon for the bad examples. I then provide examples of the same techniques used in actual appellate briefs."