Whose Point Of View Matters Most In Your Story?
The answer to this question will play an important role in the tone of your entire novel. We listen to other people probably every day in one form or another, in personal conversations, a lecture at school, a boss or characters on a TV show. Notice how the tone of their voice influences you. What tone do you want to convey in a particular scene or throughout the entire story?
The characters telling the story have their own unique voice and, depending on that voice, will tell a scene in a specific way.
8 Points To Ponder For Point Of View
- Have you thought about what tense you’ll write in? Will your story read better in past tense or present tense? Past Tense – “Suzie shopped at the mall”.
- Present Tense – “Suzie is shopping at the mall”.
- When you sit to write each scene, who do you hear talking in your mind?
- First Person – “I love doughnuts”.
- Second Person – “You love doughnuts”.
- Third Person – “Suzie loves doughnuts”.
- Omniscient (aka, all-knowing) – “Suzie loves doughnuts but she doesn’t realize they’re laced with a powerful hallucinogenic”. Use this voice sparingly, as when none of the characters knows something but your reader needs to know it.
Choose Your Narrators
Just like in a movie audition, test your characters’ voices to see which point of view sounds best for each scene. You may want to do several viewpoints throughout your story, but remember to not switch viewpoints in the middle of a scene or chapter unless you make a specific break in the narrative. It confuses the heck out of the reader. If you’re new to writing fantasy/fiction keep it simple and write one POV for each scene. You may feel like you want to write the entire story from one POV, but test other voices to see if you can spice things up, add some humour or simply add a different perspective to delight the reader.
Voice Test for POV
Write a paragraph from the author’s POV. This means you just write out the paragraph as it happens, without emotion or opinion. Then write it out in all the voices of your characters who are in that scene. Let them say what they feel and what they’re thinking.
- Who sounds good for this particular scene?
- Who has an emotional investment in what’s happening?
- Who will it influence later in the story as your plot unfolds?
- Who sees something no one else does?
- “Suzie went to the mall again. I hope she’s not spending all her money. She still has two weeks before her next paycheck”.
- “She went to the mall again. Who does she think she is, buying all those fancy expensive clothes? They look ridiculous on her anyway.”
- “Suzie went to the mall this morning. She needed to choose a dress for her grandmother’s funeral”.
Do you see how each character changes the tone of the scene? What were they thinking and feeling? Ask them why. Draw the scene out from your chosen character’s point of view.
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.
Resources to check out
Back To The Future – where the twists are revealed by other people’s POV and by the main character.