The Process: Pre-Stuff – Understanding Point of View

As we continue to learn some basic information in preparation for writing fiction, I’d like to briefly explain POV (Point of View).

What is it, you wisely ask? POV is how a narrator shares with the reader the experiences and observations of events and settings of a story. Many new writers get bogged down in what type of viewpoint to use. They worry about making the wrong choice, accidentally mixing POVs types, or head-hopping between characters’ POVs. These are all reasonable concerns, but they shouldn’t keep you from starting your writing project. Writing is a constant ‘live and learn’ process. You have to try something to see if you understand how it works, see if you can learn the ‘rules,’ and decide what doesn’t work for you.

This is very much true in working with Point of View.

Before you even begin thinking about what POV style to use, you might want to analyze what you commonly read. Do you prefer to read first person (I) stories? Or do they frustrate you? Do you most enjoy reading third person stories (he, she, they) where it is common to use one or two  viewpoints so you get a better feel for the story? You may feel more comfortable writing in a style that you like to read.

But I will warn you now that writing first person stories can be more difficult than writing the most common third person story. So unless you like a super challenge (where you absolutely must make sure everything seen, heard, experienced, said, felt, and thought is narrated by that difficult “I” person) I’d suggest writing in third person.

As always, my article on Understanding Point of View has been added to the Writing Tools on my website and to the Writing Tips here on the blog.

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