Today’s Writing Tip

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Point of view is all about staying inside the mind of a specific character. This means that all descriptions, vocabulary, speech, and level of understanding should be within the scope of what that person knows.

For example, if your protagonist or other POV character is a teenager or child, they are going to see the world through that filter. Thus their comprehension and word choice should be appropriate for someone of that age. The came principle goes for an adult who is deemed highly intelligent. They will see the world according to their assumed education and experience and use more sophisticated speech patterns.

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Today’s Writing Tip

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It’s essential to understand the concept of point of view (POV), which is the character through whom the story is being told. This can be one of the most difficult concepts for new writers to grasp.

The basic categories are single, multiple, and omniscient. Single is used for a first person narrative, but not always. It can also be used for a third person story that only goes into the protagonist’s head. Multiple will get into more than one person’s POV, but in separate sections or chapters. Omniscient gets into everyone’s throughout the story. This can be confusing and is also least effective in connecting your reader with your characters.

Today’s Writing Tip

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When you switch to a new point of view, make sure the reader knows how the new person fits into the story. If possible, introduce or foreshadow the new character in the preceding chapter. This provides better continuity.

On the other hand, sometimes it works for a story to be pieced together like a mosaic, particularly mysteries. Getting into the characters’ respective heads can show their motivation.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Switching point of view can be risky. I’ve sent a book to the DNF (Did Not Finish) pile for alternating POVs that didn’t mesh or show where the story was heading. Once readers connect with your protagonist, they don’t like to change. It’s also important to establish some semblance of a plot early on. This one comprised two different people seemingly driving around randomly which failed to grab me since there wasn’t sufficient background to add the needed suspense so I’d wonder what was going to happen next. It was as if the author was trying to figure out what was going to happen next herself. BOOOOR-ING!

Today’s Writing Tip

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One way to check whether you’ve slipped out of a character’s viewpoint is to consider the subject scene as if it were written in first person. That will usually identify anything that doesn’t belong.

Bear in mind it can be confusing to the reader if you break viewpoint. Some slip-ups may go unnoticed, but others will throw them out of the story, the ultimate author faux pas.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Omniscient viewpoint can confuse the reader; make sure it’s really necessary & the most effective option before using it. If you really want to get inside the head of other characters in addition to your protagonist, separate chapters and/or sections might work better. Readers will relate more strongly to your character(s) if you present their thoughts one at a time, rather than bouncing back and forth. If you really want your reader to relate to your main protagonist, you should stick to his or her viewpoint as much as possible.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Consider your story’s point of view carefully. If you really want the reader to relate to your protagonist, the story should be told through his or her eyes only, even if you’re using third person narrative. Avoid slipping into an omniscient viewpoint by including something your character couldn’t possibly know, such as what the other person is thinking, unless, of course, he’s telepathic. Instead, describe what your protagonist is seeing in the other’s expression and body language. Another way around this you can use occasionally is to preface it with, “He didn’t know it at the time, but….” Break point of view carefully, deliberately, and sparingly.