Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Choosing the right viewpoint #amwriting

All books have viewpoints and choosing the right thing depends on a number of things. There is first person, third person and multi-person. I mostly write in 3rd person more than one character telling the story.
The question is why one is chosen over the other.

First person is limiting the story to the viewpoint of one character. I find this brings an intimacy to the story and have used it in my Mrs.Miller mysteries. While this gives the reader a way into the character's head, they can only know what the I character knows. I've seen authors use the I viewpoint featuring more than one I character. Sometimes this works and sometimes not. Part of the reason is reader identification with the character or characters. Taking a reader from a character can confuse them. One of the faults of this kind of viewpoint is that the character can get off track and begin to drift from the story. I've read a few romances in the first person and find I don't like them. Intimate, yes but I find myself not wanting to identify with the character. Instead of drawing me in, they drive me out. This is just my own opinion. Others might disagree.

Third person can have pluses and minuses. This means a number of things. The writer can dip into every character's mind, actions and reactions and sometimes can work. But it can bring head-hopping to confuse the reader as to who they want to identify with. Romance often uses a two person viewpoint between the hero and the heroine. Sometimes the villain is thrown in if it's suspense of mystery with heavy romantic influences. Then there is the third person when more than one character tells the story and the viewpoints move through a succession of characters. I've probably used them all.

The real trick with viewpoint choice is to select the one that allows your story to draw the reader in and to achieve what you've wanted to tell.

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