The other day, I was talking story with a writer friend, and we got onto subject of point of view.
there are two kinds of point-of-view decisions. One is, do you tell the
story from first person (I knocked down the door and strode through, a
revolver blazing in each hand) or third person (HE knocked down the
door). Occasionally, someone writes a book in second person (YOU knock
down the door) -- second person is usually, though not always, written
in the present tense.
The other kind -- and the kind we were
talking about -- is narrative point-of-view, as in who tells the story,
no matter what grammatical person you use.
I've had books I just
couldn't get going. Pushing that pencil or those keys was like trying to
push a chain uphill. Couldn't do it. When that happens to me, I know
the story is trying to tell me something. Sometimes what it's trying to
tell me is that I'm trying to tell the story from the wrong narrative
point of view.
foremost example is probably the Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes is the
main character, and has all the action and most of the best lines. Yet
the stories are better, told from the point-of-view of his sidekick. We
wouldn't be astonished at Holmes' brilliance, if we were inside his head
and knew what he knows and followed his inferences and deductions all
If you have a book or a story you can't get moving, try
writing a scene from the point of view of a different character. Maybe a
character you thought was just a bit character needs to be more
important. Maybe the whole book is actually about what you thought was a
one of my favorite poets, said that everything you create is a thread
that's attached to something in your subconscious. Sometimes what that
thread attaches to isn't what you think it attaches to.
Sometimes switching out plot lines and narrative characters can sort out
what you really want to say, as opposed to what you thought you wanted to say.
It's worth a try!
Marian Allen, Author Lady
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