About Points of View Featuring a Lactose Intolerant Grilled Cheese Sandwich
|There is more than one point of view about points of view. |
One thing is certain. The way you tell a story determines the way the reader will view the action and the characters.
I prefer third party omniscient where I can in effect, play God. It is perfectly proper to switch from God's view of one character to God's view of another.
It is done ALL THE TIME in literature.
Read the award winning novel, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. He switches from Inman to Ada throughout the book. Why? Because he is God for the purposes of telling that story and it is NOT a switch of point of view. God looks at Inman fighting in the Civil War and then he looks at Ada back home struggling to survive in the North Carolina mountains.
God can do that because God is God, all seeing and all knowing.
"Call Me Ishmael."
The first line of Moby Dick and a classic example of the use of the first person, in this case, Ishmael.
Switching scenes is not the same as switching point of view.
First person example: I love being a sardine sandwich because I am free to be me. All the other sandwiches love and adore me.
Third person omniscient example:
The sardine sandwich particularly enjoyed his lot in life, although he was a bit of a malodorous egomaniac.
Meanwhile, the grilled cheese sandwich, feeling a little woozy, did his best to move away from the sardine sandwich.
This is not a change in point of view simply because I switched from describing the action with the sardine sandwich to the grilled cheese sandwich.
As you can see, the Third Person Omniscient gets to characterize the behavior and the odor of the sandwiches.
The sardine sandwich probably doesn't realize he is an egomaniac or that he smells bad so he's limited to his own outlook on the world. Showing the grilled cheese sandwich's reaction gives you another character's opinion.
As long as I don't switch from the sardine sandwich did this and the sardine sandwich did that to "I" did this and "I" did that (which is first person) I am NOT switching the point of view from which the story is told.
I can have dialogue (that I as God am witnessing) and even thoughts that begin with "I" because as God Third Party Omniscient I see, hear and yes, (God Help Me) even smell everything.
First person consists of I did this and I did that or telling the story from the character's point of view. It is very narrow and limits you considerably more than third person.
I will say something else that may shock you.
Great literature is innovative and defies the rules.
I have seen widely read, successful modern novels switch from first person to third person omniscient, although I didn't care for the technique and personally don't choose to use it.
Whatever gets the story told most effectively works for me.
Don't be afraid to be different and mix it up if it works for you and your readers. If your readers tell you that what you are doing is confusing, listen to them, especially if they tell you something is not clear.
However, if your readers just recite archaic rules that they don't really understand themselves, don't let it change the way you write.
Be a stubborn whale, or yes, even a sardine sandwich.
Don't be intimidated by someone who slings a bunch of big words around either. Chances are if they could write a masterpiece they'd be doing it instead of tearing your work apart.
Helpful reviews are supposed to be encouraging. If a reviewer does not encourage you to write then they have failed in their task.
I read a lot of biographies. Time and time again, I have read about authors facing criticism and rejection before they find their audience. Hang in there and find your readers if you have a story to tell, whether you are a sardine sandwich or a young boy on a whaling expedition.
I would not have discouraged Herman Melville because I didn't enjoy Moby Dick. I personally didn't enjoy it, but that book is regarded by many as one of the greatest achievements in literature.
The difference between me and some other reviewers is that I wouldn't have discouraged him just because his subject matter bores me.
Just because you or I don't get it or like it doesn't mean it isn't good.
So, you see, it's all in the eyes of the readers in the end. Don't give up if you have a story to tell, even if you are a sardine sandwich.