Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Whose Point of View is Right?

First, Second, Third. Point of view is the topic this week and it has been well covered. The angle I'm going to take is how you determine what serves the story.

So here are some questions, but be warned, you do need to know a bit about what you want to write and accomplish in your story. For the record, I've written a story in 1st and in later drafts dealt with the major pain in the ass of  changing it to 3rd person because I needed more options to make it work. I've also done the reverse of that kiester-killing move because something about the 1st person voice just popped in a way that made the 3rd person version seem dull. (I'm not saying 3rd is dull. I'm saying that in that case, I felt that in 1st person the character leapt off the page.)

Questions to ask: (from but what is in RED is mine)
How much does the narrator know?
Does he or she know everything, including the thoughts, feelings, motivations, etc. (If the answer is yes, then try some Omniscient POV) or present just limited information? (If this is more the case, think 1st or 3rd.) 
Do you (the reader) know more? (If you're plotting a tale where the reader knows more than the characters do, try Omniscient or 3rd.)  
Do events take place "now" (verbs in the present tense)? (For an example of this look at Matt Cook's Blood Magic books HERE and/or Darin Kennedy's Mussorgsky Riddle HERE.) 
or in the past (verbs are in the past tense)? (Most 1st or 3rd person books.) 
Are past recollections fresh, or distant, and maybe hazy? (This could go either way considering the characters, but that's your job. Consider your characters. What do you think?) 
Is the narrator a participant in, or a witness to, the action?
Is the story second-hand, related "as told to" the narrator? (If so, 1st person isn't going to work.)
Think of yourself telling someone something that happened:
How much of the event do you know, and how does that affect the story? (Really ask yourself this about your characters and story. It is insightful.) 
Why is the story being told, and why now?
What is the motivation? (Answer all of those questions and ask yourself how those answers can effect and be effected by different POVs.)

A bit more from another source: ( )

How can you decide which is the best viewpoint to use? There are several things to consider: Which one seems to bring the story to life? Which character is in a position to best tell the story? Through whose emotions and characteristics would you like the reader to experience your work? Would the story have more impact if an omniscient narrator could see and tell everything? Which voice do you feel most comfortable writing in?

Think about your story's structure and focus, and experiment with several different viewpoints until you feel comfortable with one. You might discover that a different character wants to tell the story once you start writing, and you may change to a new voice at that point. You may also find that different pieces work best employing different viewpoints

Additionally, I offer you these to read as they say it better than I could:

Good article here: third-person-omniscient-vs-third-person
And here: it has a neat chart you should see

And, though not POV, this was an interesting read here:
 how to weave a story that instantly captivates

No comments:

Post a Comment