Point of View

Now that you have your story idea and have worked out who your main characters will be, you need to ask yourself the following…

1) Who is going to tell the story? (POV)
2) What tense will your story be told in?

So, who is going to tell the story?
Will it be told in the first person or the third person – and what does that mean?

Writing in the first person, is when you tell a story from your
own point of view… “I said, I did, I went, I thought...”

Writing in the third person, is when you tell the story from someone else’s point of view…
“He said, she said, Tommy did, Mary went…”

What makes first person POV effective?

- It creates an immediate relationship between the reader and the writer.

- It allows the reader to put him/herself in the writer’s shoes.

- It allows the writer to get lost in the world he/she is creating and also, to immerse him/herself fully in the story.

Remember that when you are writing in the first person it is not actually YOU! You are assuming the voice of a fictional character – the fictional character you created!

Remember that when you use first person your whole story has to be told from your POV, so you need to be clever with dialogue (see lesson 3) to get others’ opinions across.

Remember to remain in the first person POV! If your main character’s name is Matthew Jones – don’t suddenly switch in the story from “I couldn’t believe my eyes…” to “Matthew was always a shy child…” Keep it consistent.

The benefit of third person POV is that you can tell a story from a range of angles.

You can set a scene and bring more than one person’s POV or feelings in.
For example: Mary threw a chair across the room in a fit of rage. “What did you do that for?” asked Martin, visibly shaken by his sister’s sudden outburst…

Relationships can also be clearly defined using the third person POV, as all characters are on a level playing field.

Remember to use your characters when telling a story in the third person.

Remember also, to use description wisely – set scenes.

Now, decide what point of view you will use to tell the story of your protagonist (your lead/main character) and/or antagonist (the bad guy) if you feature one.

What is a title?
The title of the book is its name. It should be clever and simple with a minimum amount of words. It should make you think but not be too random and it should suit the story that you are telling but not give it away.

What do we need to know about tenses?
The tense you choose will determine whether your story is being told as it happened or as it is happening…

What TENSE is your story being told in?

PAST – telling the story as it happened…
It was a cold, dark night and Jamie sat shivering in the doorway of a well-known shop.

PRESENT – Telling the story as it is happening…
It’s a cold, dark night as Jamie sits shivering in the doorway of a well-known shop.

To practice your tenses go to Week 2/Exercise Sheet 1. This will help you to decide whether you are more comfortable writing your story in the past or present tense.
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