On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
By continuing to use LinkedIn’s SlideShare service, you agree to the revised terms, so please take a few minutes to review them.
In fiction, who tells the story and how it is told are critical issues for an author to decide. The tone and feel of the story, and even its meaning, can change radically depending on who is telling the story.
Remember, someone is always between the reader and the action of the story. That someone is telling the story from his or her own point of view. This angle of vision, the point of view from which the people, events, and details of a story are viewed, is important to consider when reading a story.
First-person point of view is in use when a character narrates the story with I-me-my-mine-we in his or her speech.
The advantage of this point of view is that you get to hear the thoughts of the narrator and see the world depicted in the story through his or her eyes. However, remember that no narrator, like no human being, has complete self-knowledge or, for that matter, complete knowledge of anything. Therefore, the reader's role is to go beyond what the narrator says.
First person point of view is the most reader friendly. It’s intimate. The reader feels like the character’s best friend. In fact, the viewpoint character will often confide in the reader things he wouldn’t tell his best friend.
Example: The banging on my door reverberated within my skull like a giant church bell in an empty hall. I groaned and rolled onto my stomach, pulling the pillow over my head.
Remember that the POV character CANNOT know the thoughts or unspoken feelings of another character.
Second-person point of view, in which the author uses you and your , is rare ; authors seldom speak directly to the reader.
When you encounter this point of view, pay attention. Why? The author has made a daring choice, probably with a specific purpose in mind. Most times, second-person point of view draws the reader into the story, almost making the reader a participant in the action.
“ You open your eyes and the sun is already high in the sky. You’ve slept away the whole morning. You roll over on the hot sand, scrambling to your knees. The events of last night come rushing back to you…”
Very little fiction is written in second person with the exception of “choose your own adventure” types of books, or books about psychosis. But it is a popular style for a lot of non-fiction self-help books, and tourism ads.
It often has a jarring effect in fiction and is the least popular viewpoint. Your reader picks up a book to escape into another character for awhile and using “you” destroys this illusion. And it just feels weird--as though you are being bossed around with someone always telling you what to do and feel.
Third-person point of view is that of an outsider looking at the action .
The writer may choose third-person omniscient, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader.
The writer may also choose third-person limited, in which the reader enters only one character's mind, either throughout the entire work or in a specific section. Third-person limited differs from first-person because the author's voice, not the character's voice, is what you hear in the descriptive passages.
Think about true omniscient POV as having a camera panning throughout the room at a party scene, dipping into anyone’s head and perhaps more than one person at a time, by taking on the collective group perspective. Then you can think about limited omniscient more like passing a camera around the room with each person filming their own POV of the story.
“ As they followed Charlie through the crowded maze, Jake felt an odd excitement building inside him—or was it fear? He tried to grab Sophie’s hand, but she slapped him away. He had promised Grandpa he’d look after her. A pang of guilt stabbed him. He should have at least left a note for Grandpa. It wasn’t fair to make him worry about them when he had so much else on his mind. Ever since they’d moved to Fillmore, Jake had felt like everyone was waiting for him to mess up and he had done his share of proving them right. He promised himself that this time he wouldn’t let Grandpa down. It was his responsibility to get Sophie home safely and he would do just that.”
As you read a piece of fiction think about these things:
How does the point of view affect your responses to the characters?
How is your response influenced by how much the narrator knows and how objective he or she is?
First person narrators are not always trustworthy. It is up to you to determine what is the truth and what is not.
*Stop video at 6:00
We see this from a limited third-person point of view. We are able to see the action but mostly from the perspective of Howard Lewis, the tourist with the video camera.
1 person per group takes on each POV. You must write a short account from your assigned POV.
First-person with the secret service agent, Thomas Barnes.
Third-person limited with Anna (the little girl with the ice cream cone).
Second-person of the whole account
Third-person omniscient of the whole account
First-person with the President of the United States.
Third-person limited with Sam (the local that Lewis encounters right before the shooting).
Choose the excerpt from “Raymond’s Run” or Whale Talk
Rewrite a section of this excerpt in a different POV. Be sure to keep the POV throughout your writing.