|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
SOME DAYS YOU EAT THE BEAR AND SOME DAYS THE BEAR EATS YOU
WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE?
Much as my egocentric nature hates to admit things like this, apparently yesterday's blog was about as useful as a screen door on a submersible. Judging by the visit statistics, I must have found a night when everyone was at the beach. Never being one to be deterred (thus the name of the blog) by failure, let's finish up with the subject of POINT OF VIEW.
When you use second person you're treating your reader as a part of the story. It's tricky because of the reader's resistance to being 'bossed around' within the confines of the tale. This is the reason it is the least used point of view for writers.
Let's face it, most readers would regard this as a pushy method of narration, but it's not impossible to pull off. If nothing else, you should consider giving it a try to familiarize yourself with the quirks involved.The caveat is that it isn't always a good way to appeal to your readers.
It is best used to describe an emotional state you want the reader to buy into. If you can honestly get in touch with the deepest and darkest of human emotions you can often find that place in a reader's psyche where they have hidden their own fears and discomfort. The trick is to keep the tone abstracted so the audience doesn't feel oppressed. Rather, lead them to admissions they might find uncomfortable but true. If you leave enough room the reader will fill it with his/her own demons.
As noted yesterday this is the 'fly-on-the-wall' perspective. It allows a narrator to get intimately close to the action without being involved as a character. The main advantage is that third person has a feeling of objectivity. You are the omniscient observer and the authority of that position really comes through.If you feel the necessity to present a grave tone it can be be easier to do in this point of view.
What's the drawback? You tend to lose some of that immediacy you had in first person. The narrator looks in from outside while the reader is expected to be inside the action. The way around this is to delve into your character's minds and motivations, presenting them as complex, multi-layered beings.There are two different types of third person: omniscient and limited.
Omniscient is, of course, all seeing. This can be much like playing god. The omniscient narrator sees into the minds of every character in the story. This form is better reserved for longer works of fiction as it tends to cover a lot of ground. Many writers dealing in short stories choose the limited third person instead.
Limited is what it says. The narrator is restricted to seeing into only one character's mind and heart. All of the details and observations brought up in the story will be from this character's perspective. This is a great way of establishing boundaries and a narrative frame to your story. You lose some of the power of the omniscient but still have plenty of latitude and versatility.
This limited point of view can be applied to a number of characters in one story, shifting across individual perspectives. Again, a technique best reserved for novel length structure where you can develop your characters adequately. Multi-perspective work is usually too much for short fiction.
Well, that covers the three major points of view. Depending on the reaction to tonight's blog I may, or may not, go into some of the less common view points and their prime characteristics. If you have questions I'd be glad to try and answer them. Post them below or email them to me directly if that works better for you.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis