Perspective- the beauty and annoyance of Point Of View!

I initially wrote Vampire Emily in the first person point of view. It was more natural to me and a much easier style for a novice writer. You see, after my GCSE’s I’d not studied English creatively or linguistically. I’d gone down the route of social sciences- psychology, sociology & philosophy. I carved out a career in media and technology and so any writing was purely for business purposes. Creative writing is a completely different kettle of fish, one which I’m learning!

First Person. This perspective is that of the viewer, my main character (MC) and thus all pronouns are I, Me, We or Us. I found it great as it provided the story from Emily’s POV, helping to build the tension and mystery. It means that any information you as the reader know, has to either be experienced by the MC or explained via dialogue to the MC. Writing in first person meant a lot of what I wanted to portray, but that Emily couldn’t know, was lost. My first few drafts were thus a strange concoction of unnatural dialogue and too much time in the MC’s head. It became problematic also when my protagonist was in a room filled with others whom she couldn’t see but could hear. Writing “voice 1 said X” ,”Voice 2 responded” ,”Voice 1 countered” ,”Voice 4 agreed” is extremely confusing to the reader and myself as the writer. With multiple scenes in which the protagonist, Emily, is unaware of everything going on around her whilst being presented to various bodies proved to be incompatible to my attempt at writing in first person.

Whilst first person is perfect to building suspense, allowing one to create the opinion of the MC that’s built on rapport and intimacy with the use of “I”, it hindered “Vampire Emily” as a book because there was so much more going on around the protagonist than she could know. So I had to look at other writing perspectives.

Second Person. These pronouns are You, Your and Yours. There is no way I have the skill required to write in second person for a whole novel. There is a reason that this perspective is reserved for technical, advertising or lyrical writing. I did use this perspective within dialogue, but to narrate a whole story is near impossible, for me at least. I’ve written in this POV for work and it fits beautifully into the FFF (Feel, Felt, Found) of sales story telling. Perhaps in a game such as D&D it’d work, but not for my book Vampire Emily, and the other books to follow. Not considering second I dove into the third person.

Third Person. Pronouns of third are She, He, It and They. I decided on third person to write my book. OK, that’s a lie, my editor told me to write in third person. I hadn’t realised was that there are various levels of third person when it comes to writing. What I didn’t now either was how few people knew the different perspectives within third person when it came to beta readers I was paying. Hence why I thought this post would be useful. To highlight how POV differs to those who haven’t actually studied writing, such as myself.

Third Person Objective/Dramatic. This POV takes on the protagonists perspective, but can only show their external actions. It’s an observational view point in which you might be a fly on the wall watching what’s happening. The reader & thus narrator don’t have insight into what the MC’s intent are or how, in Emily’s case, her motives are to the actions she takes. It also limited my ability to show more than the bare bones of the story, and since the series will be about betrayal, revenge & unlikely allies, writing in a purely action driven manor couldn’t work. When this series is finished, I want people to feel that they have been on a wonderful journey with Emily of growth, regardless of the confusion at the start as she comes to terms with her own emotions as well as external factors.

Third Person Omniscient. This takes the POV of in which the reader/narrator knows everyones feelings and perspectives. This style of writing is perfect for complex stories in which the story can evolve through many different angles. This godlike view is often used within fantasy, and allows the reader into knowledge that each character wont know. It gives free reign to the writer as it allows one to jump in and out of time; in and out of minds, so that the reader knows and has an affinity to numerous characters. This style is brilliant for head hopping as it’s at times called. However, this wouldn’t have worked for Vampire Emily since this tale is focussed on her. The point of mystery, for me is to limit the information provided. Art reflects aspects of life and rarely are we given a full picture to make decisions. Rarely do we get to peek behind the curtains as it were.

Third Person Limited. This is near to first person whilst still using the third person pronouns. Unlike omniscient, the reader/ narrator is limited to how and what the MC knows. One is unable to head hop and so again, this perspective had the same faults that writing in first had. I wanted to give more information than Emily would know, make it cleaner to read conversations where the MC is ‘blind’ to whom is talking, whilst not giving away any mystery. The three third person perspectives are the most commonly known. This is why I chose to write in first person to begin with. However, I was informed of a forth third person- that of limited omniscient.

Third Person Limited Omniscient! This was the holy grail of point of view for my book. It allowed me to keep it close to Emily, my protagonist whilst being able to head hop when needed. This perspective is also called Third Person Close. The reader follows the perspective of my protagonist, dives into other’s perspective when needed whilst still maintaining a distance from everyone whose not in the scene. With this POV, the writer can chose to tell you the inner thoughts of some characters throughout the novel or just scene by scene. The freedom of this POV was like a lightbulb moment as it allowed me to keep true to the story of Emily, provide vital information when needed without having to give spoilers that would have changed the whole book.

Now do go buy the book and provide me your feedback please!

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