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This Month's Feature Article

“Which Point of View Is Best For Your Novel?”

by Samuel Hall

Writers must determine the best narrator(s) to tell their story. How will you decide?

Most fiction writers use third-person POV. This unknown outsider doesn't participate in the action but makes the thoughts and motivations of every character open to the reader, which many readers prefer.

Third-person point of view has several variations: In third-person limited, the reader enters only one character's mind, either throughout the entire work or in a specific section. One advantage is that the narrator can reveal information the character wouldn't admit.

Third-person objective, aka fly-on-the-wall viewpoint, avoids going into any mind at all. The reader sees only what any observer might see and hear.

First person, the I-me-we-us approach, brings the reader into the middle of the action. That can be good or bad. My first novel was a personal transformation story, which needed a more intimate relationship with the world than what I was getting with third-person. Once I began to write from my protagonist's POV, in first person, she gained dimension and complexity with each peck of my doubtful fingers.

A protagonist who is more real and knowable - isn't that what we want? Well, yes, but remember that any viewpoint approach brings its own set of problems. In first person POV, the reader must deal with a narrator, who - being a character - participates in the action of the story.

Another mixed bag. Some caveats:

Omniscient POV is told from an all-seeing omnipotent viewpoint. It's been labelled confusing and undisciplined. Undisciplined it is not. More often, it's simply used incorrectly. Pluses and minuses are:

So which point of view is right for your novel? Now that you understand the different types, you can experiment to decide which works best for you.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

Samuel Hall is a speaker, a blogger, and author of the novel Daughter of the Cimarron. Sam's essays and articles have appeared in anthologies, Christian publications, and online. Visit his web site at sam-hall-writer.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/expert/Samuel_Hall/


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Point of view (POV) is the lens through which readers "see" the story. Its importance cannot be overstated. Depending on who's telling it, any story will come out differently. Moreover, it's not only beginning writers who struggle with point of view.