In whose head are we?


In any scene, there will be one character through whose eyes we are seeing the action, or experiencing the emotions. That is point of view.

Many stories are told in third person past tense. Here’s an example:

“He ran through the forest, stumbled over a fallen log, came to the edge of the flooded river and hesitated, then he waded in. The water was so shockingly cold that he could not feel his feet. He slipped on a rock and was knocked over by the current. ‘This is it,’ he thought as he struggled to grab something, anything. ‘I’ll never see Elise again!'”

Stillwater River, high water 20140418 ACDibble photo_lo-res
We also enjoy first person singular, present tense. “I run across the yard, jump . . . etc.”

We long to hear the thoughts of a character, perceiving the world through that person’s mind. The writer might even have an obligation to let the reader in, not hold her/him at arm’s length.

Make a conscious decision about which of your characters will be revealed in this way. Often, in a single scene, only one point of view is offered. You can experiment otherwise, but it’s easier to manage point of view by limiting it quite severely. In an entire book, perhaps there are between 1-4 characters that will be able to express themselves through their own point of view.

You can switch back and forth as you offer different scenes.

Bottom line — treat point of view as a powerful force. Use it with intention, be deliberate about “In whose head are we?”


Manna is everywhere!

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Posted in Characters in 3-D, Process

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