Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Point of view is an important consideration when telling a story.

There are basically three points of view you can use:

First person, in which the main character experiences everything directly, using the words 'I' and 'me'. 'When I walked into the bar, all hell broke loose.' etc. What makes this difficult is that you can only see everything through that one person's eyes.

Second person is hardly ever used when writing a story or book (except when quoting a character). When writing in second person it gives the reader a certain 'feeling' in which they are put into the actual situation. The reader then responds more openly about the situation. Second person point of view is something most writers have a hard time dealing with. It is used by the word 'you.'

The last point of view is third person. There are actually two separate third person points of view. The 'regular' type and the omnipotent. The regular type is when the writer uses 'he' or 'she' or directs the question/statement to a particular thing or person. This is one of the most popular styles of writing.

Omnipotent is like a 'god.' The narrator knows everything about the circumstance and knows exactly what everyone is thinking at any given point of time. Using this style gives you the chance as the narrator to fill the story with ominous foreshadowing: They had no idea that by the end, only two of them would live.

The choice of viewpoint is an important one to the tone and style of the story. In third person POV, the choice of which character's viewpoint to use is important too. There may be a whole stage of characters, but which one is going to have the best viewpoint to tell a particular scene? It's like imagining each character has a camera on their shoulder, and you can only see what they see.

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