Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Choose Your Viewpoint Wisely

Viewpoints are key in writing a good novel. Choose the wrong viewpoint for a story and it just will not flow well. There are four basic types of viewpoint.

First Person

This is the viewpoint I use in my most popular series, Jane. The whole story is told from Jane's point of view, so what she doesn't know, she doesn't share. As a writer, I like this viewpoint because I can immerse myself in her mind and not have to worry about what's going on outside her little world.  As a reader, I enjoy this viewpoint as well. You get an in-depth look at one person's train of thought; you really get to know them and the more personal "I" brings you into their story and makes you want to share it with them. However, sometimes it would be nice to have that extra information that the character doesn't share, but such is the limitation of viewpoint.

Second Person

This viewpoint is extremely rare. It employs the use of the word "you", which is another way to draw a reader in. I can honestly say the only time I've read any novel like this was when I was a child reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, but I have a plan in mind for an adult version of those using e-readers. I think it could be fantastic, but we'll see how it goes.

Third Person

Third person is the most common viewpoint. The narrator takes the position of storyteller and does not get directly involved in the action that occurs. I use this viewpoint in my Blood of the Dragon series. It provides the most flexibility of the three viewpoints as it allows me to move around the kingdom of Layr and show the happenings of many characters at once. Readers get more information and get to connect with more characters, though on a more shallow level than first-person.

There are numerous other factors that come into play for third-person viewpoint, such as omniscient, subjective, and objective, and tenses can be played with as well (Hunger Games was written entirely in the present tense), but we'll save those for another time.

If you are interested in checking out the different viewpoints, Vampire Assassin (Jane #1) is currently free on all formats. Battle of Black River, the prequel short story to Blood of the Dragon is also free. Please check them out and let me know what you think!

What is your favorite viewpoint to read? To write? Are there any viewpoints you absolutely despise? Do you have a favorite book that takes on viewpoints in an interesting way?

1 comment:

  1. I like reading in first person if the main character is a woman. For some reason it doesn't resonate as well with me if the lead is a man. I usually write in third person, although my first attempt at a novel was first person.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


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