Writing Prompt: He, She, I, They, You… (POV Cont…)

One of the elements of story telling that can change the dynamic of a narrative is what point of view you use. I’ve experimented on numerous occasions with shifting from first person, “I decided to go to the station.”, third person (the most common) “they decided to go to the station. Alan took her arm and lead the way.”, and 2nd person narrative (least common, see: “If on a winter’s night a traveler” by Italio Calvino) “You go to the station, pick up the ticket and board the train.”

 It’s interesting to see how a story changes depending on the point of view. Although it is easier to draw a reader into a story told in the first person since you are more likely to relate or respond to someone telling you something first hand, there are elements that a reader has to take into account. For instance, the reliability of the narrator. Since we only ever see the point of view of one person, we have to treat their interpretation of events with an opened mind. They’re only accountable for their own feelings and thoughts, therefore we never see the other side of any story.

The most common point of view in writing is third person. This allows the writer to control the flow of information to the reader and shift form one character to another. Although this allows for more freedom of movement for characters and therefore the story, it can be limiting because more discipline is require to ensure the story flows naturally.

Try this, write a scene in each of the POVs and see which one is most conducive to continuation. Is it easier for you to create a scene if the main character is narrating, to does it flow more naturally if you step back and follow more that one character? How about this, try the 2nd person and tell your reader what to do. Have fun, swap around and see where it leads you. Try to keep it to 1,000 words in all (it’s harder than you think when you try multiple POV). Have fun. See you at the station.

Writing Prompt: He, She, I, They, You…

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