The viewpoint is the point-of-view that the story is told in. Some people find this easy and others find it quite difficult to get right.
There are four most commonly used viewpoints: omniscient, first person, third person limited and multiple.
This is when a narrator is used to tell the story. An author can move from one character to another seamlessly with this viewpoint. The author can describe each character and show what’s going on in their heads. This viewpoint slows the story somewhat, so don’t use this viewpoint if your story is supposed to have pace or be action packed.
Lindsay’s dining room table was sprawled with documents, crumpled papers and half-filled cups of coffee. She was writing feverishly, trying to complete the first draft of her novel. Her beloved cat, Beans, purred contently in the corner. She would have spent more time with Beans, has she known what would happen next…
This is a restricted viewpoint, which means that it’s confined to the viewpoint of one character. It helps the reader connect with one character and become emotionally invested in the character. This can add to the suspense in your story. This story is told using “I”, so your readers are shown the thoughts and observations of this character exclusively. This can hinder your plotting and may become tedious over a long novel, but it’s a popular viewpoint.
I began writing line after line of my novel enthusiastically into the wee hours of the morning. I had to finish this draft if it’s the last thing I do. I had to make this ‘writing thing’ work and prove all of them wrong. It’s more than just a hobby. It’s a passion that radiates from my being. Yes, I will finish this draft. No matter what the cost.
Third Person Limited
Third person limited is a viewpoint most commonly used in modern fiction. Instead of “I”, “he” or “she” is used, which makes it more flexible for the writer. The writer can show more than one viewpoint in this way.
There’s also a third-person subjective and third person objective viewpoint. The third person subjective is when a reader is ‘inside’ a character’s mind. They can see what the character sees, what they think and what they feel, but can’t see what other characters think of that character.
The third person objective is when the reader gets an objective view outside that character’s body.
Lindsay stood and admired her work ejecting from the printer. She felt relieved, but woeful as she realised what a mess she’d made of the dining room table. She noticed the copious piles of paper strewn over the table and crumpled in piles on the floor as well as the half-empty coffee cups that have long gone cold. But she refused to deal with those now, because she had cause to celebrate.
Each scene will be shown from the viewpoint of a character (usually third person). This works best in thrillers, mystery and crime novels, where you would want to keep your reader on their toes.
Don’t let your viewpoint change too much, because it will confuse your reader.
When you are in one character’s viewpoint, stick to it until the end of the scene or chapter.
If you are unsure of which viewpoint to use, rewrite the scene in each of the four major viewpoints and select the one that reads the best.
What’s your favourite viewpoint to use in your writing? Which viewpoint do you find easiest to read? Which viewpoint do you prefer? Let me know by commenting below!
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