Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Point of View

by C. LaRene Hall

One of the Most Important Tools a Writer Has – this workshop was taught by Janette Rallison.

“When publishers are talking about a fresh voice it is point of view. Rules: They exist for a reason. There are no rules to assure good writing, but there are rules to avoid bad writing.” Noah Lukeman

1st person – Advantages – it has a very intimate feel, and it is the easiest POV for new writers to master. It is easy to show main character’s thoughts. Disadvantages – all action must be seen by your main character.

2nd person – YOU, it is hardly every used in books.

3rd person – most books are written this way. Advantages – People like to read third person stories because it is easy to superimpose yourself in this kind of story. You can have more than one POV character. The story can follow the action, and it’s not limited to one person. Disadvantages – It is easier for new writers to make errors in this point of view.

Omniscient – Tricky POV to do. Advantages – The author can dispense finformation to the reader that the characters don’t know. The reader gets to know the inner workings. It’s like a fly on the wall, or a camera. Perhaps the author doesn’t want to give away the main character’s internal thoughts for artistic reasons, or in the case of the main character. Disadvantages – It’s more boring. You don’t know who the story is about. The writing seems sparse and emotional.

The Big Mistake: Ping-Pong Point of View or Head Hopping.

1. It’s hard to make work. Switching back and forth in POV is tricky, and you don’t need to add one more thing tht can, and probably will, go wrong.

2. Since 90% of unpublished manuscripts have this problem, you don’t want your manuscripts lumped together with all the people who haven’t mastered the craft.

3. Jumping back and forth is confusing to the reader.

4. More often than not, you never get into one person’s POV deeply enough to let us know who they are and what they want.

5. A trick to help your POV in 3rd person . . . write in 1st person and then change “I” to a name and it will work perfectly.

6. You can change POV at the end of scene or chapters. POV is the one who has the most at stake in that scene or chapter.

Don’t write it, unless your character would actually be thinking about it.
Don’t let the author’s point of view slip into your character’s internal thoughts.
Don’t leave the point of view out.

Your story needs
1. dialogue
2. action
3. internal thoughts

No comments: