Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Four Viewpoints (Part 1 of 17)

A note from Twila: Thanks for sending in your questions. We'll try to get as many answered as possible this year. For starters, let's talk about viewpoint. Cherrilynn asked about the difference in writing in first, second, and third person. Here's what Cec has to say (and there's more to come).

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Point of View (POV) refers to what goes on inside the head of one person during a scene or a book. The modern rule is to stay in one POV. I could also say that you become that person and readers know how the POV individual sees life.

Newer writers tend to jump from head to head within a scene, and often they're not aware of what they're doing. (That style of writing isn't wrong but it takes great skill. Often called omniscient POV, I'll discuss it later.)

Let's say you've chosen first-person POV. You cannot possibly know how another character feels or thinks. Suppose you're in first person and you look at Jamie. "His angry countenance frightened me." How do you know he's angry? You can assume such an attitude, but maybe it's only indigestion or he's thinking of his loss in a bad business deal.

Try it this way: "The look on his face frightened me. Jamie had a right to be angry . . ."

Choose one POV and stay with it.

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