Monday, August 11, 2014

Crafting Your Best Story - Tip # 19 - Point of View

Your story has to be told by someone. That person is called the point of view character. Some stories are told by more than one point of view, or POV, characters.
Most Young Adult books are told from the First Person POV.  "I went to the store. I called my friend on the phone." It's a close story telling perspective because we are inside the main character's head all the time. We never leave. The advantage to First Person POV is the sense being in the front row of the action. The disadvantage is that you can only reveal information that the main character herself knows, when she knows it.
Clockwise is told in First Person: 
 I was sitting with my best friend, Lucinda, on the sidelines of the football field. As usual, we were watching the yummy football players rather than the scrimmage going on because really, who cared about the actual game? Despite the glare of the setting sun, I saw the brown speck hurtling towards me.
The most common form of story telling is Third Person, either Limited or  Omniscient.  When a story is told in  Third Person POV, the author uses Proper Names and Pronouns. "Kathy went to the store. She called her friend on the phone."
Limited means you stay in the head of one character and tell the story from their perspective. The author tells us the main character's thoughts and actions. Omniscient third is when the narrator (the author) jumps around from head to head when telling the story. We are told everyone's thoughts and actions.
Playing with Matches is told in Third Person Limited.
Emil Radle limped across the sloping field that was brittle and dry from lack of rain and irrigation. He lost his footing twice, falling, grabbing at his leg, his mouth opening in a wide teeth-baring groan. The first time he beat the pain, pulling himself back onto his feet, hunger pushing him on. The second time he gave into the primal urge to scream and cry, until sleep threatened to take him again. The warm sun beat down, heavy, his mind lapsing into a drug-like state.
Somewhere in his subconscious, he knew he couldn't stay here; if he did he would die. He pulled himself up again, shaky and quivering.

Second Person Pov is story telling with the use of  the pronoun "You" where the narrator is speaking directly to the reader and is rarely used in fiction."You went to the store. You called your friend on the phone."
Here's the rule of thumb: only tell one point of view at a time and (please) don't jump around from head to head in the same scene. If you have more than one point of view character, separate their narratives with new chapters or at least new scenes with a space dividing them.

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