There are two things to consider when choosing the point of view of your novel.
- Who is telling the story?
- From what distance is the story being told?
There are four primary points of view you might choose for your novel:
- First person
- Limited third person
- Second person
Read an in-depth explanation of the various points of view in the NOTES ON CRAFT section.
Whatever point of view you choose, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is suddenly shift point of view, thereby interrupting the fictional dream. This is particularly true with first person narration. If your novel is told from the point of view of a particular character, you must be careful not to break character by suddenly revealing something that your point of view character wouldn’t logically know. The moment you slip into someone else’s mind, the gig is up. The reader is left wondering, “What just happened?”
Consider the other possible points of view for your novel. List them here, and write about the pros and cons of each. What would you gain from shifting the type of point of view (from first person to third, for example)?
What might you gain from changing the point of view character?
The point of view character is simply the character through whose senses we have access to the story.
What would be lost?
What might be gained?