Narrative Point of View
By Jr. Bellé
A point of view is nothing but the perspective in which the story will be narrated. As simple as that, but of course, it is indispensable.
In general, the author typically has made his choice of how his story will be narrated at the premise’s moment. Here, we’ll look at the options for narratives. There are six total, with three of them being sub-categories. Let’s look into each one.
1 – First person
The narrator uses the pronoun “I” or “we” and, often, he is one of the protagonists. It’s nice because it is our natural way of telling a story. This perspective helps the plot to be more realistic and personal, but on the other hand, forbids direct interpretations and incloses the knowledge about the action to the limited view of one character.
2 – Second person
The narrator uses the pronoun “you.” In this perspective try to say what you – whoever “you” are – are doing and thinking. I agree with novelist Chuck Wendig (more about him below) when he says that the second person seems to be an awesome choice, but, often, stories written from this perspective are just goofy. It works better for short stories, but, even the, pay attention to the tone because to ensure it flows well and makes sense.
3 – Third Person
The narrator uses pronouns “he, she, it and they” to tell the story. He is talking about other people. This is the most common way to write novels and romances. This option can be divided into three sub-categories:
A – Third Person Omniscient
This is a god-like narrator perspective. If you pick this option, you can see everything, all of the time. But, remember what Uncle Ben told Spider Man: “with great power, comes great responsibility.” A caution on this perspective is distinguishing the narrator between the characters and the reader the whole time. Switching between many characters also might destroy your story.
B – Third Person Limited Omniscient
In this case, the narrator imposes a limit on himself. Recurrently, this limit is the point of view of the characters, much because it can either unify narrative elements or donate realism to the plot. Just take care about what each character knows and stick to their characteristics. The jeopardy of this perspective gravitates around the limited observation field of the narrator.
C – Third Person Objective
Imagine a camera recording an action. That’s what an objective – or dramatic – perspective is. The narrator creates an impartial report, he doesn’t interpret anything; he relegates this task to the reader. Without the possibility of interpretations and reveries, the plot become hostage of good dialogs and actions.
Chuck Wendig wrote a thorough article about narrative points of view. If you want to look into the details of these six possibilities for narratives, you could start here: 25 Things that You Should Know About Narrative Point of View.
* Junior Bellé is a Brazilian journalist who writes on Widbook’s blog weekly with tips and tools to help your writing. Here, he offers an exercise on writing the narrative of a story.