The point of view of a story is the most important decision you can make for your work. It is the eyes of the story, much like characters are the blood and plot the heartbeat, because without it the story wouldn’t work. But what are your options when it comes to point of view? Which one should you choose? Well let’s go find out.
Types of Point of View
There are three main types of point of view to choose from but they also have various sub-types as well.
I like to call this point of view the “point of me” it is where you are writing the story through the eyes and mind of your narrator. You use the words I, he, she, and they quite often. The main pro/con is that your reader can only know what is going on with the main character. What they see, do, hear, and think are all that the reader will ever know. I say pro/con because there are some readers who are deterred by this singular point of view, but there is a way around it.
Sequential Multiple Viewpoint
It’s the sub-type for first person where the focus switches narrators for a chapter. This way you have a clean cut between switching characters, just make sure that each character has a distinctive voice so your readers can tell them apart. I actually tried doing this with my first novel attempt, and it kind of worked for me. It helps you show a plot point from multiple perspectives and give as much information as you can without giving the whole plot away. One thing to worry about is giving too much away and making your plot very predictable.
This point of view is the “point of you.” It is often found in create your own adventure stories and the narrator is more often looking to the reader to make a decision as to where the plot goes. Essentially the reader is the main character and the narrator is telling them the situation as to what is going on. Want to experience it yourself? The biggest analog for this point of view is Dungeons & Dragons. The Dungeon Master is the narrator and the players are the main characters of the story. The Dungeon Master explains the plot and situation and the players decide what actions to take. The dice they use predicts how effective the actions are and works the plot around with the situation. No play through is ever the same.
Third person is the “point of them” it is where the narrator is separate from the characters and so is the reader. This type has the most sub-types out of all three but the most well known is the Omniscient point of view.
Omniscient Point of View
This is the “God View” where the narrator sees and knows all. They can switch characters and situations as the writer chooses. Just like the Sequential Multiple Viewpoint, something to worry about is giving too much away. So if you want to keep some things hidden from your readers, this isn’t the way to go.
What Point of View do You Write In?
If you aren’t sure as to what point of view your story is in, take a quick read through your rough draft. Go through one scene and you will be able to tell who’s eyes the story is seen through. As yourself a couple of questions as you go like:
- What pronouns am I using?
- Am I switching characters?
On the other hand if you are starting your story and you are looking to figure out what view you want to go with. take your genre and length into consideration. If you are writing a fantasy novel, first person and third person will work. But if you want it to be short, first person might be better since you don’t have to put every single detail into the story. A long create your adventure? Second person point of view is the way to go.
Do you have a specific one to go with? Let me know!
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