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TBT # 7

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about point of view. It is one the first things you must decide when you begin to write. It can change everything about a novel. Does your narrator know all? Or just what one character sees? Are they a character in the story?

This is a critical question.

Most of my stories are written in a third-person limited point of view. For those who can’t remember, like many of my students, this is a he/she/they narration that can only see one person’s thoughts. I choose a character and the narrator, who is not involved in the story, tells what they see and think. I like this point of view because it allows for exposition while still keeping some things secret from the reader. A similar form of this is third-person omniscient, where the narrator can see inside all characters heads. I tend not to like this one for my writing. This is because in my mysteries I do not want my reader to be able to see the killers thoughts!

Once, I attempted to write in the rarely used second-person, or “you” point of view. This was an interesting experience. It was an assignment for a creative writing class in college. I hated it. Even though I was using characters I was familiar with, the flow of the story was off and it was difficult to understand. I am glad that I experimented, but it is not something I would choose to do again.

The last point of view, first person, is the one that I have been thinking about. In this POV your narrator is a character in the story. You experience the story as the live it. While I do not typically write this way I recently came up with a new story idea that I think will be best served by a first-person point of view. That is really the key, picking which POV is best for that particular story.

Well, there you have it, a tour through the four different POV’s and my experience with them. What about you? What POV do you typically use? Why? Is there any you would like to try?

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