Thursday, September 9, 2010

The View

Let's talk about View. Not the show. Point of View. The perspective from which our story is told! Here are the choices we have:

First Person ("I") - The writer tell the story from one character's point of view (usually the main character). I like stories told in first person because I feel connected to the story. I'm in the moment. I am the character! This works incredibly well in The Hunger Games with Katniss. The drawback to first person is that the reader only gets one side of the story. We only get to know what that character knows, go where they go, see what they see and experience life as them. It's very limiting. Like driving through a very thick fog and only being able to see what your fog lights illuminate. All else around you remains foggy, unknown.

Second Person ("You") - I debated mentioning this because it is so rarely used. The writer speaks to the reader. I'm about to completely date myself but - do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure Series? Oh, how I loved those books. I still have all mine from childhood! Those are written in second person and work quite well because you, the reader, are the main character and you, the reader, have the fun adventures! Or reach THE END if you don't choose well. (Ooooooh, I think I just came up with an idea for a fun blogfest! I'll have to flush this idea out to see how it's going to work...see, amazing when inspiration can strike!)

Third Person ("He/She") - And now you have MY Point of View. Here is where it gets tricky, though. There are two types of Third Person.
Limited Omniscient - The writer lets you in on the thoughts and feelings of ONE character.
Omniscient - All knowing. :-) The reader gets to know EVERYTHING (thoughts/feelings of all the characters).

Third Person is more versatile. I have heard writer's say that they started in one point of view, then switched because it wasn't working for the story they were trying to tell. We can always change our minds. We don't ever have to married to anything. I started DARK FOREST in first person very briefly - a few scenes as I was trying to find my main character and flush a few things out. But it didn't work. Switching to Third Person allowed me to create a richer world. It helped me flush Eva out, to be sure that she wasn't ME. I could breathe life into her, and my other characters. My vision broadened. It works for me in this story. Now, I have the problem of switching from limited to omniscient at times. I have to really watch myself or I can do that. Yikes!

What about you? Do you have a tendency towards one point of view or the other? Or do you vary by story? Have you ever started in one and finished in the other? Anyone out there with a Second Person POV story?


  1. I tend to err on the side of first person which is hard with my WiP because the narrator is a boy and I'm not. I guess I need to study my brother some more and remember what he was like at 21.

    I also like third person limited, for some reason it gives me the first person elements I like, but with the freedoms of a first person.

    Oh! And thank you for the puppy advice! Normally she never slips her collar, it might have been because it was a little big to begin with, but I'll definitely try those tricks with her and get my mom to help since I'm away.

  2. I tend to always start in third but I found for one story, I had to switch to first. So, I did. Great post.


  3. I like first person most but only because I have a tendency to try and mix both varieties of third and get called on it. Apparently if you start off limited you can't all of a sudden be omniscient.

    Great post! Always a tricky choice.

  4. I WISH I could put my story into third. I could explore so much more of my world that is seriously layered. I could get a more non-judgmental opinion of my other characters - whom I love.

    Unfortunately, the story is Rory's. She's the main character and she will NOT be written in 3rd. And trust me I tried.

  5. Paige - I'm trying out third person limited for my story and I'm liking it! First person didn't fit this story. Sorry about that super long post with the puppy advice. I teach Humane Ed for a living so it's second nature to just start handing out advice, which I shouldn't do when it isn't asked for! But that recall can be a lifesaver! You never anticipate something happening, but it's good to be prepared just in case!

    Clarissa...Thanks for the "great post!" Coming from you, that's a huge compliment.

    C.E....that's my biggest challenge at the moment. Making sure I stay in limited. The first chapter mixed both. I think that happened early on because I was feeling out the story. Had to rewrite that one extensively!

    Melissa...I love that Rory will NOT be written in 3rd. It's HER story and she wants to be sure everyone knows it, especially YOU, her scribe.

  6. I love, love first person! It's so fun to write in. =)