Point of view:
when you finally get the hang of it, you wonder how you ever missed its
importance in storytelling.
There are three definitions
for point of view (POV), and each one gives insight into what an author needs
to know about this most important element of fiction.
1.         Point of view is a position from which
someone or something is observed. Sure, an author could tell his story as if he’s
observing the world around him, letting his words describe what happened to
someone else, but that is called telling. We want to avoid telling at all costs.
Rather, we want to show the story through the eyes of the character who is in
the midst of the action—the point-of-view character.
2.         Point of view is also a mental
viewpoint or attitude. So, an author has the first definition down. He has his
character’s viewpoint clearly where the reader is observing all the action.
Now, the reader must lure that reader into the mind of the character. We want
the reader to believe he or she is the character. This is done by connecting
emotion to the observations.
3.         The mental position from which a story
is observed or narrated. Don’t let the word narrated
fool you. Except for a short line or two for transition, an author wants the
narrative to hide behind the viewpoint character and all that he or she does,
says, and observes. This facet of point of view deals with how the story is
told. As the author, one must decide if the story is best unfolded in first
person (I, me, my), second person (you, yours) or third person limited (he/she, his/her, and they/them/their). An
author must do his homework. Some genres work well when the story is told in
first person. Others don’t work so well. For example, a reader of historical
romance might have to adjust to first person viewpoint.
Second person point of view is fascinating
when the story calls for this type of “narration.” A good example is an old
short story entitled, “Don’t Look Behind You.” In this story, the narrator is a
killer. He is talking to you, the reader. As the story progresses, you realize
he’s talking to you because you have the book that contains this story—the only
book that contains this story, and he—the narrator—has plans for you when you
read the last line. I don’t know another way this story could be told to
maximize the impact. Believe me. Every reader looks behind them.
When editing your manuscript, point of view
is the most important element an author has for showing his story. No matter
the viewpoint an editor uses, he should edit carefully with an eye toward
showing everything through the point-of-view characters actions, thoughts, and
dialogue. An author needs to grab his reader’s attention by drawing them into
the point-of-view character’s reaction and emotions. The deeper the author
delves into viewpoint, the more powerful the story.

Happy editing.

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