This week: Point of ViewEdited by: Lonewolf
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As the creator of your own fictional world, it is ultimately your decision to choose which character's point of view you choose to tell your story. There are a lot of different ways to develop your story. Some writers start with a vague idea of a plot. Others start with a setting or character and work from there. No matter how you begin, at some point you have to decide who is going to tell your story.
The view point of your story can be told in first, second or third person. The second person approach is very difficult to write and doesn't work for most stories. Though, it can be used effectively in an interactive story where the desire is to draw the reader in deeper. The most common form would be first and third person, in either omniscient or limited narrative.
Third Person Limited
This is the most common POV used by writers, usually told in past tense. Incidentally, it is also the easiest to master. The author tells the story solely through the eyes of one main character and the focus should not shift from character to character within any given scene.
The downside to this form of POV is that the reader can only know what that character learns through interaction with other characters, through overheard conversations or through deduction conducted via internal monologue. The author can not cheat in this POV and supply thoughts or feelings from other characters.
The character is developed not only through dialogue, but also through narration. You need to be careful that the reactions and personality of the viewpoint character don’t disappear or lose consistency during emotional moments in the story. Don’t let your first person story turn into simple observation (i)Show, don’t tell. The character needs to be involved and react to events physically and verbally, not just describe the reactions of others. If your viewpoint character doesn't see, hear, feel, touch or experience it, then he/she can't know about it unless another character or situation offers up the information.
Third Person Multiple or Omniscient
This is a point of view where the narrator knows all the thoughts, actions, and feelings of all characters. The author may choose to move from character to character to show how each one contributes to the plot. This way, the reader can create bonds with different characters. It also offers the opportunity to allow the reader to see inside the villain's plans for your protagonist. An author may also choose to use third person omniscient to write in many different voices or to create more action in the story
To make the third person multiple POV work, it is important to confine yourself to one point of view per scene. Shifting from the perspective of one character into another during the same scene can often confuse your reader, or lose them entirely. Keep each scene separate by sticking to one point of view and not jumping into another character's head until the next scene or chapter.
No matter what your chosen view point is, the most important thing to remember is to stay consistent in that view point or you will confuse and often times lose your readers interest.
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