What’s Your Point of View?
Once upon a time there was this talented writer who wanted to pen a bestselling novel. So one day, she positioned herself in front of her laptop at a local coffee shop. But instead of writing feverishly, she stared at a blank Word document.
She knew what she wanted to say, but had no idea how to say it. How can I best tell this story, she asked herself silently, wondering the best way to engage her readers. Needing inspiration, she visited her favorite writing blog, and the answered appeared in the form of a blog entry entitled “What’s Your Point of View?”
The article was quite informative, explaining how narrative writing was an effective way to convey your story vividly on the page. With inspiration and direction, the talented writer returned to the page and began penning her soon-to-be successful novel.
Now granted, the example above is a very rudimentary display of narrative writing, but you get my point. Narrative writing is simply the telling of a story from a particular perspective, in this case a third-person point of view.
Now there are two other narration perspectives you can employ: first-person and second person. The first-person is from the main character’s perspective. Imagine how different the story would be if the writer herself was telling the story. We obviously would need to change the “she” into “I”, but the conveyance of thoughts would be different. Something like, “When I couldn’t figure out how to tell my story, I visited my favorite blog…”
The second-person narrative–less commonly used in fiction, but very prominent in self-help literature–is great for the author or main character having a conversation with the reader (FYI, this whole article in the second-person).
And don’t think that you are limited to using one narrative writing style in your story, switching perspectives throughout can be great for telling your story from different angles; although, I would not recommend changing points of view within the scope of a scene.
Choosing how to tell your story is just as important as telling your story. Here are few tips to help you decide which point of view to use in telling your story:
First-person: Perfect if you are telling a story about your life experiences; great if you want to make a personal connection with your reader
Second-person: Great if you would like to inspire your reader into action; perfect if you want your reader to imagine themselves in a given situation
Third-person: Perfect if you would like to capture the inner thoughts of many characters; great for offering background information to the reader
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