Less than two weeks separate us from November, and with it the beginning of NaNoWriMo.
Writing a novel is much like making a film. Only, instead of using sequences of images, we use sequences of words to formulate the scenes and chapters of our story.
And much like in any film, you need to know how you’re going to capture it.
Are you on a small budget, filming the sights and emotions of only one character. Are you filming like in a movie, watching the characters from a, even near, distance. Or is it like in a firt-person game where your heroes and heroines are wearing cameras on helmets, or on their super eye contacts?
Your answer to this question, is your answer to an aspect of the writing craft: the Point Of View (POV).
In this Writer’s Diegest article, you find out there are many types of POVs in writing fiction, as much as there are many techniques to filming a video.
For example, there is the First Person. In this type, you narrate your story (rather your character’s) through the use of “I“.
Most people would find this to the easiest, and most intimate way to write, as it is the closest thing to talking.
It has the disadvantage of being limited. If someone commited a murder in your MC’s neighberhood while s/he were elsewhere, then you can’t have seen what happened, or who did it.
These cons, can of course be overcome. Your MC might happen on a CCTV footage of the crime later on, for instance.
Another POV style, is the Second Person. In this format you use You.
This format is my least favorite personnaly. It’s a little awkward, and takes a lot to pull off.
A third type is the Third Person POV. This is my own default writing POV.
It’s the POV used in most fairytale books: Once upon a time, there was a little girl…
The voice the reader is meeting is a narrator who is watching the characters from above. It knows what they are wearing, and how their faces are changing with every thought and emotion. It can see what the charcters can’t, and even know what would happen in the future.
It can be limited so it only follows some of the characters, or omniscient, where the writer is a god in his realm: sees all and knows all.
The problem of course, is the emotional distance between the characters and the readers. We tend to relate more to people telling their own stories (using I) then when their stories are told by a medium (using S/He).
An interesting format I’ve stumbled upon in a book last year, is the We.
You can of course mix up between different POVs, but you should be careful not to confuse your readers (and yourself), and that each voice is unique and as relatable as the others.
For me, I’m thinking of trying the first person narrative this NaNo, maybe add up a bit of detail using third person.
What about you? Which POV comes to you naturally?
PS. Images found via Google Images.