point of view

Who Is Telling The Story

The point of view in any story is important because it provides a guide to manage the execution of your story. Most works of fiction use one point of view although a second perspective can be brought into the story for a short period of time.

Third Person Perspective is the most common method of conveying a work of fiction. This method allows the narrator to have at least limited omniscience. The narrator has limited access to the knowledge and feelings of the characters in the story and can take the reader from one character setting to another easily. There is no questioning of how the narrator knows so much about each individual; it is a premise that is simply accepted by most readers.

Unlike first person perspective that conveys the story from the perspective of a cast member, third person perspective narration does not allow the narrator to actually participate in the action. They are simply the mechanpovism that operates outside the story to bring the various story threads together.

If a writer were to give the narrator full access to all feelings and thoughts of the cast of characters the story would be a little flat because nothing would be left to the imagination.

Third person narratives can be spotted by the predominate us of words such as they, he, she and it. The narrator talks about others – never about himself.

The least common perspective is Second Person Perspective. Very few novels can utilize this approach throughout an entire work.

This type of fiction relies on words like you and you’re. The use of this type of perspective either assumes you will connect with the story as if it is written to you or that you will understand you are reading a private story written to and about someone else. It is rare to find a full manuscript that uses this perspective although an Epistolary Novel such the C.S. Lewis masterpiece “Screwtape Letters” may likely be considered second person perspective in its entirety.

The trouble many writers get into is an unintentional shift in perspective. This can be used effectively under certain circumstances, however the shift in perspective needs a breaking point to allow the reader to gain some understanding that a shift has taken place. Without a break to qualify the shift in point of view the story becomes confusing because the reader has to work hard at discovering who is actually telling the story.

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