Wednesday, May 2, 2012

POV--First Person

I said. You said. He said. 

POINT OF VIEW (POV)! Another important element when writing fiction....which one out of the three should you write in? There are four different angles you can write from:

  • First Person
  • Third Person Limited
  • Third Person Omniscient 
  • Second Person
Each perspective has its place in fiction/novel writing. The kind of view you choose is entirely up to you. The first three perspectives are relatively common, the last one is the oddball. I haven't read too many books writing in second person, all because it's a whole different world. Recently I read a book written in first person and I was immediately captivated. It felt as if I were walking with the protagonist, experiencing her problems and struggles. After that book I went straight into another book, now told from third person limited--a TOTAL different approach. I'm more used to this kind of writing but once I read the first person story, it was hard to switch over. Because this is a wide topic to discuss, we'll go through each perspective over the course of four weeks. I'm partly doing this because there's a lot to remember and I have a sprained wrist...ha, a sprained wrist and a writer don't match. It's a writer's worst enemy. I feel limited to SO much this week. Okay, I won't complain about my incapability. With each week I'll cover one of the perspectives and then write a brief example. 

First person.

A novel written in first person is written from the account of one person. You'll ride along with this person and go through whatever journey they are faced with. You'll experience what they are experiencing, feel what they feel, react how they react, and relate to similar things. Writing in first person can be exciting but also daring. If the job is done well the reader will feel as if he went right along with your main character. 

Writing from this perspective will teach you the many uses of the pronouns "I" and "we". You'll explore with these pronouns and learn how to build a story around the protagonists life. Every detail must be filtered through the storyteller. First person point of view is the most friendliest all of writing. The reader feels well acquainted with the story and the character, almost feeling like a best friend relationship. There are things the character will tell you the reader but no one else in the story. First person view point is fun to write and explore with. You can create a story of fun, drama, tragedy, horror, mystery, romantic, or imaginary. The moment the story starts the reader will be stuck in the character's mind. For beginner writers this can be a trickier kind of viewpoint because you need to know your character. You need to choose which character will be impacted and tell the story. Once you have that figured out, you'll have to bond with your character in an inseparable way.

Remember to keep your point of view consistent throughout the story. What I mean by this is, you cannot change the viewpoint every single scene. You'll confuse your reader for sure. In first point view the character will do all the talking, you're just writing. Don’t let your first person story turn into simple observation (Show, don’t tell!). The character needs to be involved--to react to events physically and verbally--not just describe the reactions of others. First person creates an intimate perspective. You'll feel connected and if the author does an outstanding job with placing the character on a beach, you might find yourself having to dump the sand out of your pocket once you're back from the beach. Describe the emotions, physical attributes, mental images, and anything else occurring. 

Have fun! Get to know your character first and then get writing. You need to be relaxed when approaching this kind of writing or else your reader will feel the tension through your character. You may discover that first person is not your type of writing and that's okay. Explore, it's the only way you'll figure it out. 

This week's example! I wonder why I'm still awake when I really should be asleep. Why did he have to react that way? Doesn't he know how much I care for him? Doesn't he know that all I want is for him to listen? I wonder if he even thinks of me? I doubt it. Who am I that he would even care? I guess I'll never know. I'll be here, alone and clueless about everything. I don't even understand my thoughts anymore, and my toes are freezing. How I hate winter and being alone! -----> clearly we know that the character is unhappy.