Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #8

The # 8 Key Step:

Commit yourself to a point of view early in your planning and stay with it. This enables your-and your readers-to get a footing in your story.

“Point of view” is a term that refers to the relationship between the storyteller, the story and the reader. A story can be told from three different points of view–first person, second person or third person.

Our natural inclination is to have a narrator who tells his or her own story in the first person. Think of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. A first person storyteller can also tell someone else’s story, as did Nick Caraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Other writers use the third-person point of view. There are various kinds of third person narrators. Two examples are.

An omniscient storyteller who goes everywhere, knows everything, reveals what is in the minds of the characters, and comments when he or she wants. For a good example of this technique look at Mary Gordon’s novel, The Other Side.

A direct observer who has no memory of the past, and no special understanding of the present. The director observer is like a reporter in the room recording the scene. This point of view is best used for a story that is all action and dialogue. For good examples, look at almost any of Hemingway’s novels.

In your novel, you might have more than one point of view. I have published 13 novels and used both first and third person, as well as, in my family sagastack_table1novel,Brother & Sisters, there were six children and each one told her or her story. I introduced them all in the first chapter with individual scenes, and, therefore, the reader understood immediately how I was telling the story. This technique also allowed me to handle comfortably a large cast of characters.

In my most recent novel, Long Ago and Far Away, I had two main characters-a man and a woman-who meet as young lovers and I track them through nearly 40 years, both telling their personal stories until they meet again, and I use the third-person for the entire book.

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  • You are still doing so very much in so many literary areas I have to classify you as master of letters along with England’s Anthony Rudolf and Ruth Fainlight of the same stature here on the West Coast San Francisco Bay Areas late great persons of letters Josephine Miles and Lawrence Fixel. Edward Mycue

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