Point of View

Any story needs a point of view. This is very important. The point of view of a story is the perspective of the story. It’s the reader’s “in” to the story. Basically, the point of view gives the reader a way to “see” the action. There are three main types of point of view: first person, tight third, and omniscient third.

First person is the “I” point of view. The reader is in the head of one character and one character only. The entire story is seen through the eyes of that one character. This point of view is strictly limited to the single character’s view of the action. It is also the most intimate of the points of view. This can be both good and bad because, unless your character is telepathic, it can’t read the thoughts of another character.

Tight third person is where the reader views the action as though it was sitting on the character’s shoulder, or standing just behind the character. The reader doesn’t know the character’s thoughts, but “sees” what the character sees, “hears” what the character hears, and so on. The advantage of this point of view, is that it can be easily switched to another character’s point of view, if necessary. The disadvantage is the temptation to switch points of view mid scene. It can be a challenging point of view to write.

Omniscient third person is where the action is seen from the outside. This is the least intimate point of view. The reader doesn’t get into the thoughts of any character. It’s as though the reader is watching the action from afar. The reader sees all the action everywhere, regardless of what character is there, or even if no characters are there, but this point of view carries the risk of reader disconnect. The reader may not care about the characters and can easily put down the book and not pick it up again.

The choice of point of view is entirely up to the author. If you aren’t certain which one to choose for your story, write the opening scene in each of the three points of view and look at them carefully to find the one that works best for the story. This is a good exercise to perform. If you have a scene that isn’t working, it could be the point of view – write it from another point of view or change the intimacy from “I” to “they” and see if that works better. You might be surprised.

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About

I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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