Wordsmith Wednesday–Point of View


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I experience a certain amount of terror in approaching the subject of point of view because it’s a topic I find sometimes confusing and obscure. I know for a fact that, as a reader, I’m very conscious of shifting points of view that are not well-defined by the writer.

Your choice of point of view plays an important role in characterization. When I first began to write “Winter is Past” I chose first person point of view. One person doing a critique told me that agents want third person, so I dutifully (and foolishly) embarked upon the tedious task of rewriting the entire manuscript. In the process, I lost all emotional connection with my protagonist. Some of my early rejections were based on exactly that reason. Finally, after all but abandoning the novel, I put it back into first person and, able to climb into Claire’s mind, enabled the reader to get to know her again.

In both my novels I’ve written from the point of view of three different characters. To do this successfully, I believe there needs to be a definitive shift between characters such as spaces or chapter changes. To me there is nothing more muddling than scrambling around in more than one person’s head in just one or two paragraphs, and it happens.

A good reference when you are considering point of view choices for a novel or short story is James Frey’s book, “How to Write a Damn Good Novel.” He clarifies the various options available to you.

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10 thoughts on “Wordsmith Wednesday–Point of View

  1. I struggle with point of view too. I remember in high school reading about it over and over trying to get it straight.

    Thanks for this, Victoria.

    Like

  2. Honest one Victoria..

    Dear Victoria !

    As February being the month of love, I decided myself to express my love for Haiku. After penning down more than half a century of Haikus, the love for it has become immeasurable and made me throw a Challenge to myself, ‘The Haiku Challenge!’ If you ask me what is this Haiku Challenge, then I would say it is simply writing a Haiku a day, beginning February 1 and to carry on until February 28.

    28 days – 28 Haikus – Wow! That sounds great right.

    For more info, Check out the blog post here

    http://pendownmythought.blogspot.com/2011/01/haiku-challenge.html

    Spread the word for reach as many people as possible.

    Someone is Special

    Like

  3. Jingle says:

    honest and powerful…

    people differ, stick to yours and enjoy.
    have a lovely Wednesday.

    Like

  4. trisha says:

    have you seen finding forrester? that movie can give writers a great chance of introspection.

    i partially share his and quite a lot your view, we should write as per our own inner guide and see the reaction of readers.

    i just cant imagine writing to satisfy the whims of others blindly, slavishly.

    Like

  5. kenny says:

    Thanks for this, and for the visit. Writing without training is very weird because you rely on effect without understanding what is going on. Point of view is something we use in film but it’s an entirely different kettle of fish in writing. Thanks again.

    Like

  6. souldipper says:

    Good, helpful information, Victoria. Appreciate the time and courage you had to muster to put this together. Thank you.

    Like

  7. Victoria,
    You truly have a writer’s website–for others, too. Your wisdom and knowledge are impressive and you’re making a difference in writer’s lives. I so admire you and what you’re doing.

    Like

  8. Bodhirose says:

    You poor dear–what an ordeal. I guess there’s something to be said for going with your own intuition.

    Thanks for the valuable information culled from your own experience, Victoria.

    Like

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