I loved Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay! Found the book very difficult to put down--like in only set it down twice...
Sam (Samantha Moore) has been offered a scholarship to a prestigious graduate school on the condition she writes letters to her anonymous benefactor. Her letters to Mr. Knightley become more diary than letters as Sam works on demons from her own past and tries to quit hiding behind the fictional characters she loves (Lizzie Bennet, Jane Eyre, Edmond Dantes). She's also struggling to write well enough to meet the expectations of Professor Johnson, who's won multiple Pulitzers.
There's romance, mystery, and inspiration, too. The book came out in 2013 from Thomas Nelson. Visiting the author's website, I'm thrilled to see she has three more books out since this debut!
If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll definitely want to read this book!
I've heard it called "distancing the reader" and "filtering," but whichever term used, its an error in writing that needs to be corrected. We write sentences such as "I saw the dog's huge teeth." Or "Sophie watched the German Shepherd charge her." We want the reader to know it's the main character's viewpoint. But if we're in a dangerous situation are we going to be passive about it? No! Neither should our main characters. Cut the I saw, she watched, he heard, they observed, etc. Make it more immediate. Show the character reacting or doing something. Even if the situation isn't dangerous the story will be stronger without distancing.
Following are some ways my two sample sentences above could be improved. Look at how different the versions are--how they present very different scenarios.
Instead of: "I saw the dog's huge teeth."
Instead of: "Sophie watched the German Shepherd charge her."
So take a look at your writing. Are you writing close? Are your characters active? Or are you distancing by letting your character be passive?
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.