Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/newsletters/action/archives/id/11870-A-Limit-in-Point-of-View.html
Fantasy: March 22, 2023 Issue [#11870]

 This week: A Limit in Point of View
  Edited by: Dawn Embers
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Fantasy Newsletter by Dawn

A look at what the reader gets to know through the point of view and character. Some thoughts on struggles with head hopping, different viewpoints, emotions and voice.

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

Sometimes we do something and it seems like the world sees (or well, at least quite a number of people). Other times, something is done or said in solitude. No other vehicles are around, so a car goes through a red light. You through a basketball at the hoop from half court at an empty park and hear the swish as it goes in. A tree falls in the forest.

There are also random acts of kindness that no one will ever see or know. I live in a place where parking is a struggle. There are parking meters and if you don't pay every 2 hours there is the risk of a ticket but there is a button that adds on 15 free minutes when it is out of time. Lately, when I'm putting money on my own meter, I've hit the button for others that I see are red near mine. No one is there, the owner will never see it, but I do the gesture anyways. On the other hand, a few weeks ago in West Hollywood, I gave someone a couple quarters to add to their meter for more time just because they needed a little help. They were there and knew but I didn't need anything back. I just did it because I was able at the time.

What does this ramble about meters and trees have to do with fantasy and point of view? I have a point, I promise. With any story, there is a very important writing element when it comes to telling a story. Most stories are done told through a specific point of view. Speculative fiction, in particular, is known for a more epic scope and the possibility to write in many different viewpoints throughout a novel. An important thing to take into consideration is understanding what a main character will know and what they won't.

For most stories, even in fantasy there is some limited aspect to the viewpoint. Granted, in the long and very epic tales, there are many views that get those in the hundreds of pages but there are still rules at what gets shown and when. No matter whose head we get to hang out in for whatever amount of time, can't just jump around or know things that are unknown to the person showing us their part of the story.

This is also known as not head hopping.

What I mean here is this: readers want information in a story but there is a limit based on viewpoint in what they get to see/read.

At times this may be more obvious things. Does the character showing the scene know that the one guy has a dagger? How would they know? Do they know who the other character is at all? Are they good with names/face and remember everyone or are they more like me with taking a long time to really remember someone enough to pull out a name?

Then there are the emotions. Is the other person angry or is the character guessing that is the feeling or reaction that another character has experienced? Do they really know what is going on, or are they just making a guess? It is a challenge in more than one way because we can't all make assumptions and in a very tight or closed point of view there are limits to what the character can see for the reader. However, you also don't want to just put a lot of "he guessed" or "it seemed" either. The use of words like "might," "seemed," and such are on the weaker side. Can be used sometimes but the writing will be stronger without them.

What you may be able to take away from this is: caution. Remember to think about the point of view, which lens the reader is getting to see the story through and exactly what that lens would see. Be cautious what gets interpreted or shown from that viewpoint. We'll discuss how many heads to hop and other fun point of view options later in other newsletters. For now, think about your main character or come up with one for a contest here on WDC. Think about what only the character knows and sees, then go from there and write a scene where there is something they do know and something they don't. How do you show either? Have fun writing.

Editor's Picks

Unstable(d) Writer's Challenge   (E)
A 12-month, intense writing Challenge
#2281662 by Shadow Prowler

Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  (ASR)
Use the photo to inspire your creativity. Write a short story and win big prizes!
#1221635 by Writing.Com Support

Horror Writing Contest!   (ASR)
A contest involving writing a horror story. Simple, really.
#2273172 by Steven (PLEASE BUY MY BOOKS!)

Fantasy Firsts  (18+)
A Fantasy Genre Novel First Chapter Contest. 2500-5000 Words. Closed.
#2290764 by A E Willcox

Twisted Tales Contest  (13+)
A monthly contest for stories with a twist. Get 500 GPs for entering! May round open!
#1269187 by Arakun the Twisted Raccoon

Lycanthropic Licentia  (18+)
A Licentia poem (sort of) from an unfortunate character's perspective. . .
#2292416 by Weirdone-Back in the games

Midnight  (18+)
A wraith seeks vengeance in the town. Winner of Horror Writing Contest, March 2023.
#2292182 by Beholden

Fiction Writing: Style and Voice  (13+)
Different stories need different styles of writing. A writer's voice is unique to them.
#2268259 by A E Willcox

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Ask & Answer

How strict are you in the point of view? What if the reader needs to know something the main character doesn't know?

“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.” - Dr. Seuss

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” - Lloyd Alexander


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