Saturday, October 9, 2010
Choosing a Point of View
I’m revisiting four short stories I wrote a while ago. I thought they only needed a little tweaking. Boy was I wrong! I asked my mentor to read them and give me his overall impressions. Although they're somewhat tight, he said they could be tighter if I change the POV of two of my stories.
He said, “When it comes to POV, it all depends on what you're trying to do with your story. If your story relies on bringing out the internal states of a character, how that character is feeling, what she is thinking, etc., then a first-person POV usually works best. If the story depends on a more objective outlook and/or on more than one character's way of looking at and doing things, then a third-person POV (omniscient) is usually best.”
When you begin to write a story, whether a short story or a novel, you first need to know from which point of view the story will be told. You can always change this once the story is written or just doesn’t work out the way you had intended, but it’s best to plan from the beginning.
No set rule for points of view applies when writing. A writer usually sticks to the POV that feels comfortable. If you are a beginning writer, try writing several paragraphs, including dialogue, from each POV. You will know immediately what feels right for your way of storytelling.
Have you experienced POV confusion? Do you know from the get go which POV will work best for your story or novel?