Friday, August 30, 2013

Fiction Friday - Post 4 - Point of View

Fiction Friday - Post 4 - Point of View

Author Sue Grafton   - Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In Post 3 we talked about Character - and Character Development. This is a task you can work on before you start writing a story. Another key element that must be considered before starting to write is Point of View.

Books have been written on Point of View, and it is a major topic of every writing workshop, seminar and course on writing. So, I want to comment on my experiences, positive and not so positive, rather than preach or teach here.

Perhaps the easiest point of view to recognize is "first-person narrative" where the story is told by a narrator who is also a character within the story. The narrator reveals the plot by referring to this viewpoint character as "I." I used this with Penny Nixon telling the story in my "Murder by the Homeplace." This point of view has been used in all the alphabet books of Sue Grafton (pictured above), one of my favorite authors with her lead character, Kinsey Millhone. It is commonly used in detective and private investigator stories, of course.

Third-person narrative provides the most flexibility to the author and thus is the most commonly used narrative mode in literature. In this mode, the narrator is not a character in the story, only the entity sharing the story being told. I used this Point of View in "The Homeplace Revisited" and in the forthcoming "Christmas at the Homplace." An interesting variation available is the third-person limited (versus omniscient) narrative where the story is told as 'seen by' one character at a time. The last couple of weeks I've been reading "Eighteen Acres" and "It's Classified" by Nicolle Wallace where each chapter alternates among three women characters.

This reading reminded me that I wrote in this manner, alternating chapters among six characters in my first novel, "Back to the Homeplace," and it was surprisingly successful. It worked well. While it is more difficult to write, I do believe it forces the author to plan the narrative much more precisely - which no doubt creates a better novel.

So, seriously consider which Point of View you will use, as you share your next story. Remember, there are other choices beyond the ones mentioned here. But, do choose carefully for a better result. That is - a better story.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

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