Hello, I’m back. Was in Austria last week visiting a friend and didn’t have time to do a proper blog. I’m here now though.
So, how’s your writing getting on? Is there anything I can help with? Following is a few wee tips on Point of View or PoV. What do I mean by that? Well, when it comes to writing fiction, one of the first things you have to decide is who your narrator is. In other words, from whose viewpoint are you’re seeing the story unfold?
There are three main viewpoints you can take the story through:
- First person – this is when the story is told from a single person’s point of view. The text is all about ‘I saw this’ and ‘I did this’ and ‘I felt this’ instead of ‘Mary saw it’ or ‘Mary did it’ or ‘Mary felt sad’. You know how your character is feeling and what they are thinking. It’s almost like you are in their head seeing, hearing, tasting and feeling everything they do.
- Second person – where the narrator is speaking directly to the reader using words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’.
- Third person – that’s when you are seeing the main character from outside of themselves (this is where ‘he saw it’ or ‘she did it’ or ‘they felt sad’ comes in). You won’t know how your character is thinking or feeling unless you can ‘see’ it written on their faces, hear it in what they say or see it in what they do.
Just to confuse things, it is possible to have more than one narrator or viewpoints from both first and third person. You could write your book from more than one viewpoint. For first person, you could do a chapter in one person’s point of view and another in a second person’s point of view. In third person, there may be three or four viewpoints being shown…be careful as this can be quite tricky.
In the Victorian era, it was a popular trend (see Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White) to write a novel from many viewpoints using methods such as ‘diary entries’, ‘letters’ and ‘interviews’ with different characters. It can be quite effective, but you need to ensure each character has their own distinctive voice.
My preference is for writing in the third person point of view. I enjoy doing this the most and I usually show the story unfolding from one and (sometimes) two characters’ point of view maximum. This is because I don’t want to confuse the reader by writing from many, many viewpoints. However, I have been experimenting lately and have written a first person point of view novel written from the perspectives of three characters. Hopefully it works!