Today’s Writing Tip


Yesterday I mentioned how understanding what constitutes a point of view character can be difficult for a new writer to grasp. A story that has one primary protagonist often does well with the story being told through their eyes, whether it’s told in first person or third person.

Omniscient viewpoint gets into all the characters’s heads simultaneously. This can confuse the reader if not done skillfully. Before resorting to this, make sure it’s really necessary and the most effective before using it. If you need to get inside other characters’s heads to describe their motivation and/or show their contribution to the plot, this can be done with separate chapters and/or sections. That way the reader can keep it straight more easily.

One way to get a handle on describing what other characters are thinking or feeling is to pay attention to what you see on television, whether it’s a drama or a sit-com. Very few get into their actual thoughts through voice overs. However, unless the actors are entirely incompetent, their expressions and body language tell you exactly what’s going on in their head. The next time you watch your favorite show, think about how you would describe in words the various ways the actors portray the character’s emotions. This is what you want your reader to visualize, what they would see if your novel were a movie or TV show.