V Is For Viewpoint

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

VIEWPOINT

Who’s telling your story? You? Oh, the characters like to let you think that, at least at first. You give them life, create their story for them, and assign all their attributes, so you’d think they belong to you, right? No, because you’ve just created a Frankenstein monster that wants to trample the town, fall in love with the wrong person, eat paste, and veer wildly off the plot. If you think using first person POV helps, like you’ll feel more connected through the use of ‘I’ and ‘me,’ boy are you in for a surprise. You’re about to find out just how much you don’t listen to yourself.

You can also use third person—she, he, it. She, he, and it will still not listen to you. But, it’s still important to pick the right viewpoint for the story, because:

– Viewpoint is about more than just point of view. You need to tell the story through the eyes of the right character. Which one is it? The police officer? The criminal? The stray dog? The angry old widow with the pick axe? Choose carefully, or this story won’t work. No pressure.
– Choosing a point of view is important too. First person is more immediate, but limited, so if you’re the police officer you don’t know the widow is sneaking up on you with the axe. Third person is broader, and can shift from person to person, so we can know that the widow thinks the police officer is full of bees and they must be released.
– Experimenting with weird points of view like second person can be tricky, but sometimes you can pull it off if you’re clever enough. Just be careful not to sound like some bitter, bitchy blogger talking down to their readers about writing.

One of the worst things about writing is the pressure to pick the right point of view. This choice is important, because it sets the tone for the story. The viewpoint character also dictates what kind of story you’re telling. For this reason, the possibilities are varied when you use viewpoint as a tool. It may even help to switch viewpoints if a story is struggling, or try experimenting through the eyes of another character. And then, release the bees! Maybe tell the story through the many eyes of the bees? I would read that. Bee Cop: The Unleashing.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

23 comments

  1. I would totally read Bee Cop: The Unleashing! XD hehe.

    You’re so right though, characters run away with the story and ignore plot. It’s why I love being a “pantser”, because I don’t mind if the nice old lady I introduced in chapter 2 decided she’s bored in chapter 4 and kills her neighbour. 😉 (It’s still surprising though, it just doesn’t screw up plot notes hehe.)

    Here’s my “V” post 🙂 http://nataliewestgate.com/2017/04/victim-secret-diary-of-a-serial-killer

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  2. I write third-person omniscient, which is the long-established, classical standard for historical fiction sagas with ensemble casts. While I love short first-person interludes, like letters, op-eds, and love notes, I honestly don’t think I’d know how to write an entire book in first-person anymore after over 20 years of having written entirely in third-person. A lot of first-person books these days also kind of run together for me, since that POV has become so common, and many of them are trying to do some kind of snarky, updated Holden Caulfield-style voice. The narrators start to all sound the same after awhile!

    I find it pretty sad how many people these days, at least in North America, genuinely don’t understand how third-person omniscient works anymore. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve gone through a variation of:

    “How would Name know this?/Why would Name be thinking this?”

    “I’m stating this as the omniscient narrator, not through Name’s perspective.”

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    1. You hit the nail right on the head with the first-person thing. Many of them sound the same and it’s hard to create a unique voice from that perspective. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it’s just really hard.

      I love third-person omniscient. I feel like there’s a lot more room to tell a richer story. Bring it baaack!

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  3. I prefer writing in third person because first person seems a bit limiting and second person is too difficult. I remember an author from the former East Germany, Christa Wolf, who wrote in the second person. It was quite amazing and she was able to carry it off.

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  4. I tend to go for third person. I’ve used first person occasionally in short stories, but I worry it would get too restrictive over a whole novel. I guess a little choice like that might end up dictating the whole direction of the plot.

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  5. LOL As I’ve said each day, I love these. I use a journal to keep track of POV and avoid head hopping, the curse and bane of many. I’ve got 3rd person 2 POV per book down, but I’m impressed by others who can handle so many more of them and not lose the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my gosh. I’m dying here. Laughing so hard I’m shaking the bed as I’m reading and trying to not wake the hubby. A policeman full of bees. Suddenly my POV post from a few months back seems sooooo boring.

    You really need to put all your A to Z scenarios into one kick-butt-fabulous book. I would SO buy it.

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  7. My weapon of choice, 3rd Person Limited. I follow the right character, while also showing the environment around them. I stay away from first person, except on special occasion such as a quick way to do exposition, or a way to get into a character’s mind, such as doing a dream sequence or telling a story. I agree a story entirely in first person is way too limiting.

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    1. I’m not a huge fan of first person at all, I won’t write it and I don’t like reading it. It always feels like I’m being forced to instantly identify with a person I don’t know. That being said, it gets written a lot and a lot of people enjoy it, so to each their own!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The problem I have with first person is that, as we stated, it limits the view of the environment. Everything is up to the bias of the narrator, who is also the main character, and can’t view the world beyond their senses.

        More than that, it becomes troublesome for many writers to do dialogue. I sometimes get lost of who is saying what, as they tend to neglect using dialogue tags. It’s annoying.

        So if I do reviews for people, I warn against first person perspective, as I avoid it.

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