Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Five Points of View

One important consideration when you begin writing is: whose point-of-view are you going to use to tell the story? Most fiction is written in either first person or third person point-of-view.

Here are five options to consider:

1. First Person Point-of-View. In first person, your narrator tells his or her own story using "I, me and we," as the main pronouns. First person is a limited viewpoint because you can only reveal what the narrator knows, sees and does. Here are a few sentences written in first person: "My name is Kekla. I like to write stories. One of my other favorite things to do is eat ice cream."

2. Second-Person Point-of View. In second-person, your narrator speaks directly to the reader, using "you." Second-person is not commonly used in fiction, because it makes the reader feel like they are the main character.

Here are a few sentences written in second person: "You walk down the street eating an ice cream cone. The sun feels hot on your back. You lick the ice cream quickly, beause you are worried that it might melt all over your hand." (Cut by Patricia McCormick is an example of a novel that uses second person. So do the Choose Your Own Adventure books, where "you" are the main character.)

3. Third-Person Point-of-View. In third-person, your narrator speaks about the characters using "He, she, him, her and they." A third-person narrator can be limited to only one character's perspective, and able to relate that person's thoughts and feelings to the reader. Or, the narrator can be more objective and able to report the facts of the story without getting involved.

Here are a few sentences written in third-person. "Kekla loves to eat ice cream. On sunny days, she often buys a double scoop vanilla cone and eats it while walking outdoors."

4. Omniscient Narrator. An omniscient narrator knows all and can dip into the thoughts of all the characters in the story. This is a tricky viewpoint to work with! (Charlotte's Web by E.B. White uses an omniscient narrator to relay the feelings and experiences of numerous characters.)

5. Multiple Viewpoints. Whether you write in first, second or third person, there is always an option to write your story from multiple viewpoints. Using multiple viewpoints differs from using an omniscient narrator. In multiple viewpoints, you speak from only one character's viewpoint at a time, and there are clear distinctions between the sections that are in Character A's point-of-view and those that are in Character B's point-of-view.

Keesha's House by Helen Frost is an example of a multiple viewpoint novel-in-verse. Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne Jones is another example--in which one part of the book is written in third person and one part is written in second person.

Give these a try, then let me know:

What point-of-view do you like to use when you write? Can you think of examples of books that use these points-of-view?

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