02 February 2013

I need the camera over here now!

Every story has a focal point, or the place where the reader views the events. The broad term for this focal point is known as Point of View, or POV. I’ve mentioned this as something to watch in earlier blog posts, but here I want to dig in and discuss it. When I really dig into it in depth, I’ll do a blog post on each.

I could bring out the dictionary or the writing library and give the technical definition of what the writing world means by POV. Instead, I am going to stick with a layman’s definition so anyone can understand it.

POV is Who controls the camera if the story is a word movie.

Some of us see the scenes in our head as we write. For them, the above makes perfect sense. For those who don’t see the scenes, it probably doesn’t.

Another option – POV comes from whoever is narrating your story.

Ah, that allows me to discuss this a little more. Technically, we have three broad categories of POV: 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person. These are just the broad categories, each category has sub headings. Each has their benefits and drawbacks. Some stories work better with different categories than others.  Let’s just review the basics here.

1st person:  These are the stories written with “I” statements.  Your main character tells the story through their eyes and from their perspective. It’s filtered through their experiences.

2nd person: These are stories written with “you” statements.  I admit they’re more rare than the other two categories.  A way to consider it, for me at least: they feel like a hypnotist directing your experience.

3rd person:  These are stories written with the gender pronouns “he, she, they, it” statements. From my experience, these are the most prolific out there. They are also broken down further to explain additional camera movements.

I menitoned that each POV has its benefits and detractors.  I'll go into more details on those in other posts. For now, consider the camera metaphor for a minute. When you're dealing with first person, the camera is the same as the main character's eyes. Third person has more play with where the camera goes. This opens many different thoughts.

For now, I'll leave this as a primer, with more information to follow.

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