Writing Advice: consider point of view

Who tells the story?

Point of view (POV) is an important topic when you start to write a piece of fiction.

In Lockdown, I tell Billy’s story in the first person. I’m curled up comfortably inside his head, feeling what he feels, hearing what he hears, and seeing what he sees. I can’t experience any other characters except through him. I loved that so much, I started a second story about him, Isolation.

I love to tell stories in the first person, but sometimes, that doesn’t work.

What if you need to jump between characters to get more perspective or to show how they feel about each other?

One way is to switch between characters in first person. You can write each chapter or section from a different character’s point of view. An example of this is my NaNoWriMo 2020 romance novel. Each chapter switches to a different character to tell a first-person story.

Then there’s good old omniscient third person. I mean, who wouldn’t love to know everything? Well, maybe not in real life, but for stories, knowledge is definitely power.

An exAmple of a story told in the third person is The Choice. I wanted to look at Rita as an outsider would see her, not from within her, so I opted to tell her story in the third person. I observe her foot tapping while she’s waiting, I hover close to her as she sits reading e-mails, and I’m telepathic, so I do know and feel what she and the other characters know and feel, but I’m more remote than I would be if I were deep inside her head, listening to all of her thoughts. I can smell the coffee she’s drinking, but with my own nose, not hers.

Isn’t it strange how deeply we experience stories, even when they’re fiction and many of them unlikely or even impossible?

Please pick a POV and go write a story. Yes, you can change POV later if it doesn’t work. I’ve done that, but that story hasn’t been published yet.

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