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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crafting Corner—POV


Do you have a favorite Point of View? Do you find yourself writing better in one or another? Or are you like lots of writers and you aren’t sure which one to pick. Here are a few thoughts.

Third Person Omniscient: The narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all the characters, and usually jumps from character to character to tell the story. I like to think of this kind of like God’s POV—I hope that didn’t sound blasphemous.

Pro: Because you are not limited to one character this POV works well for epic stories or stories that need to be told from multiple POV’s. It is also the only POV where you can foreshadow with phrases like, “Little did they know what grave events were about to transpire.”

Cons: With so many characters in the mix sometimes it is hard to pin point the Protagonist, and your story can feel unfocused. Because you aren’t tightly into one characters head this POV will often feel more “told” than the others. And if the narrative is too distant it can make readers feel disconnected—telling of feelings instead to making readers live them.

Something to think about:  Remember that every character you use to tell the POV needs to have a character arch. That gets tricky. I’ve heard NEVER to use more than four.

Examples: Lord of the Rings, Anna Karenina, The Westing Game


Third Person Limited: The story is told from one—maybe two—characters POV. Usually you are in one character’s head and only see the other characters externally.

Pros: With third person limited you have more freedom that first person. You can write scenes that the protagonist isn’t in. It can give you a more complete story view.

Cons: It is easy to POV shift in this POV. You have to remember that you can’t know any feelings or information that the current POV doesn’t know.

Something to think about: You CANNOT head jump in this POV. You can only switch POV at a scene break or chapter break.

Examples: Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, For Whom the Bell Tolls


First Person: The protagonist is the narrator. The story is told as “I”.

Pros: This POV has a very immediate feel. The reader is right in the action, and. you actually “live” the story.

Cons: Sometimes it can be hard to remember that you can’t “tell” how a character feels in this POV. For example a character would never think, “I feel sad” they would just cry. You MUST show thoughts through actions.

Something to think about: Your story is limited you what the main character knows and that is all! You can’t let them have more knowledge than they would naturally have.

Examples: Twilight, The Hunger Games, Matched


What is your WIP and why did you choose it?

-Angie 

21 comments:

Suzi said...

Most of the stuff I've written is 1st person. I have branched out into 3rd limited, but 1st is definitely my favorite.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Head Hopping drives me nuts!

Another con with too many points-of-view characters is that the reader may "like" one more than the other and then gets annoyed when that character's chapter ends and they have to move on. :)

Kyra Lennon said...

I never think of first person as being limited, though it obviously is. The reason is, most of my writing is emotion based, and being inside one character's head means I have full access to their deeper feelings. I think it allows me to really explore who they are.

But I also like third person limited - though I haven't written that way for a long time!

Karen M Krueger said...

I've always done first person. Maybe one day I'll branch out and do something different, though so far I haven't even wanted to. Guess I just like being right there in the MC's thoughts. :-)

Karen M Krueger said...

I've always done first person. Maybe one day I'll branch out and do something different, though so far I haven't even wanted to. Guess I just like being right there in the MC's thoughts. :-)

J. A. Bennett said...

I like 1st person, but I write in 3rd limited. When you weigh the pros and cons 3rd limited really gives you more than any other POV. Glad to have you back!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I've done 1st, and 3rd limited. I haven't attempted being God yet. ;)

Emily R. King said...

You know I love first person!

Cassie Mae said...

I've written in 3rd and in 1st. Both I love, but I think I'm better in first, haha

Aldrea Alien said...

I tried First Person once, but found I write better in Third Person Limited.

Johanna Garth said...

I tend to write in third person limited.

Cherie Reich said...

My YA is in 1st POV because it is more immediate, but my adult works so far are in 3rd limited because I tend to have more than one person telling the story (only one at a time though).

Stacy Henrie said...

The one I lean toward is third person limited, but I've explored first person (both past and present tense) and had fun with it. :)

Leigh Covington said...

DUDE! You're back to blogging! I'm so excited and yet so sad that I've been such a slacker! Now I've got to back track.

BTW- I think POV is fun to play with. My current book is in first person - and I'll totally be sending it your way before long! :D

Kelley Lynn said...

Fraction is in third person limited. The collab I'm doing is first person. I guess I like both equally as long as they're used the right way.

Brandon Ax said...

My finished novel is in first person, it let me really delve into the character, but it was also limited I could only express thought threw the views of that character. My WIP is in 3rd lim. I like it i can follow more than one character and have a little more freedom with how I write a scene. Anyway love the blog going to join :)

Melissa Sarno said...

Argh. Point of View. I'm rewriting my novel from 3rd person close to 1st person. I bang my head against a desk just thinking about it... ;)

ilima said...

I hate omniscient. I feel like it's cheating and think only a few brilliant writers can pull it off. My first book was third limited alternating from two POV's, but the rest have been first, and that's where I've discovered I like to be.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I like 3rd person limited. I've never tried 1st. As a reader all are good if well done.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

One of the reasons I love poetry is being able to switch-up POV whenever I want.

I find first is hard to pull off for some people because they want to slip in information unavailable in the type of POV they choose. Your character is sunbathing on the beach. How do we know about the bomb in the warehouse unless a shark escaped from there via the sewer and your protagonist just happens to telepathically communicate with warehouse-dwelling sharks?

Rebecca Barrow said...

This is a very helpful post because now I actually know what I write in, haha! I like third person limited, I like being a little bit outside of my characters. I have written in first but I found it waaaay too easy to start going off on a tangent and I like being able to experience more than one character.

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