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Monday, 8 February 2010

Point of View

This is going to be a post about writing technique - so if you're not a writer I can save you the time of reading this and warn you now that you probably won't care about anything I'm about to say.

Now that I've got that out of the way - hello fellow writers! I should say also that I am not published and this is all my own opinion so it's up to you whether you take any of this into account. Recently I read a very interesting post on Kiersten's Blog about characterisation and how it can make or break a story. That isn't really relevant to this post other than it made me start thinking about what I am reading. I am currently reading many books - many for uni - but one of them is a chicklit that I'm indulging in (I can't believe I just publicly outed myself as a chicklit lover). I do think many of these type of book aren't that great and this one is no different - there was something about it that just wasn't grabbing me. So after reading Kiersten's post I actually focused on what I was reading. By the way I recommend this to readers; just be aware that it may spoil your reading pleasure so choose the book to study carefully.

Anyway, onto the actual point of my post (wow, this is turning out to be really long winded) - the point of view. As I was reading my chicklit book I realised that although it is in third person it is all about the main character Jazz. The problem is that every now and again it slips into a more general third person - I know what other people are thinking. I have decided that this is the main problem with this specific book. I am not engrossed in what happens to Jazz because the other characters' point of views are clouding how I see Jazz, it isn't just her story anymore. So my advice (finally, sorry it has taken so long to get to) is to really think about who's point of view are you writing it? It is perfectly acceptable to show many points of view but is it clear to the reader who is thinking what? Are they balanced? If it's just one character's point of view, do you show the reader any information that that character doesn't know? If you do, then you are straying from their point of view. I'm not telling you how to write - only you can work that out for yourself; but it is a good idea to think carefully, line by line if necessary about what your characters know and what your reader knows (and how they know this).

Hope this has been of some use to someone, maybe I'll start posting more tips and ideas but that isn't a promise.

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