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Monday, April 07, 2008

Basic Point of View, part one

Many beginning writers are confused about the concept of point of view. I’m hoping this series of blog posts will help you out. After I finish the series, I’ll condense it into one blog post article.

What is point of view?

It’s the type of narration of a story. For the purposes of a writer, it’s easiest to think of it as the eyes through which your reader sees the scene.

There is third person, second person, and first person point of view.

First person is told from the character as the narrator. I’ll be covering that later.

Second person is not used often. It’s the type of narration where the character is referred to using personal pronouns, which serves to make the reader into the character. I remember this type of narration in the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Third person is most often used. In third person, the characters are distinct from the storyteller, who is essentially the author. Most readers are familiar with third person, since most fiction is written in third person past tense.

Third person often works because while it’s told by a narrator, the reader is sucked into the story and usually doesn’t notice the narrator—they are engrossed by the characters and the plot.

For example:

Any man going on this mission wasn’t coming back.

Cluttered kitchen, cluttered head. Kent Wicksell could hardly think straight. It wasn’t supposed to start like this.

----From Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins

The reader doesn’t even notice the third person narrator. Instead, the reader is caught up in Kent’s dilemma.

Within third person point of view, there are three types that I’ll talk about next time.

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