1. What are some common flaws you’ve noticed in how authors do world-building/describe setting?
Either not enough detail or so much detail that it overwhelms the main characters and plot. It’s important to give enough detail that the reader can visualize the character within the setting in a way that informs the character actions, reactions, and motivations within that setting.
2. What are some ways the setting could affect/influence plot? If you’ve read a story where this happened, tell us a little about it.
Setting affects plots in a number of ways. If there character is traveling across time, then the setting becomes part of the plot and the author will need to show how the new setting creates conflict for the character. For example, in Outlander, the heroine must navigate the changes and challenges between 1946 Scotland and the same location in 1743.
3. How can you help the author create a sense of deep perspective?
Show what the character thinks about the setting, the other characters around them, and about their own actions and reactions within the story. Rather than telling the reader someone is scared, show their clenched fists, pale face, and wide eyes. Then show the character’s internal thoughts: what exactly is it that they fear or that makes them afraid? Are their physical reactions and thought unconsciously triggered by something in their past? I think that asking the “why” about what a character is doing, saying, or thinking helps deepen their POV.
4. If an author is head-hopping, what are some things we can do to help build their awareness of what the problem is and how to fix it?
Inserting suggested chapter breaks to better separate and assign POVs or adding asterisks to delineate different POVs with a chapter. If the head-hopping feels omniscient, then I might suggest a different tense or changing the POV perspective all together. For example, Casey McQuiston uses second person present tense in Red, White, and Royal Blue for an omniscient perspective of all characters while still retaining deep POV of the main character.
5. What can editors do when authors have trouble realistically conveying the perspective of the opposite sex?
Advise the author to find a beta reader of the sex or gender that is being portrayed (almost like a sensitivity read). Suggest romances that portray these character well and detail why they do so. Look at the author you admire and write note the details that show deep understanding of the opposite sex.