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#atozchallenge : L is for Look through your character’s eyes #fiction #writing #quotes

Theme:  Quotes from Authors and Bookish People about Writing

We’ve just reached the midway point of the A to Z challenge, and it’s been an exhilarating journey so far, trying to keep up with all the new things I’ve learned, the friends I’ve met and the new goals I’ve set myself. I’m enjoying co-hosting this challenge– how are you doing? Is AZ overwhelming, exciting, fun?

The fiction aspect we’re discussing today is Point of view. It is perhaps the most important decision a writer makes when telling a story– whose eyes should the reader see through? The same plot can result in two completely different stories if told through the perspectives of two different characters.

Narrative point of view in the creative writing of fiction describes the
narrator’s position in relation to the story being told.
~ Wikipedia

“If Carlos curses Juan think what both their sides of it are. Don’t just
think who is right. As a man things are as they should or shouldn’t be.
As a man you know who is right and who is wrong. You have to make
decisions and enforce them. As a writer you should not judge. You should
  –Ernest Hemingway

 “It can be said that one slip of point of view by a writer can hurt a
story badly, and several slips can be fatal.”
— Sol Stein

“Description must work for its place. It can’t be simply
ornamental. It ­usually works best if it has a human element; it is more
effective if it comes from an implied viewpoint, rather than from the
eye of God. If description is coloured by the viewpoint of the character
who is doing the noticing, it becomes, in effect, part of character
definition and part of the action.” –
Hilary Mantel

“The choice of the point(s) of view from which the story is told is
arguably the most important single decision that the novelist has to
make, for it fundamentally affects the way readers will respond,
emotionally and morally, to the fictional characters and their actions.
The story of an adultery, for instance – any adultery – will affect us
differently according to whether it is presented primarily from the
point of view of the unfaithful person, or the injured spouse, or the
lover – or as observed by some fourth party. Madame Bovary narrated
mainly from the point of view of Charles Bovary would be a very
different book from the one we know.”
― David Lodge

“Write in the third person unless a ­really distinctive first-person voice ­offers itself irresistibly.” –Jonathan Franzen
How do you choose whose point of view to tell a particular story from? As a reader do you take any notice of Points of View?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Andrew Leon says:

    I tend to really agree with that quote by Franzen.

  • cifar shayar says:

    Point of view is definitely important part in a story,informative article, I have followed your blog.

    I blog at The Other Side

  • Wonderful image!

    I tend to begin from what I think is the most invested character, but, if another POV presents itself, and keeps coming back, I listen.

    I've recently explored a multi-character POV, with one arc told in first person, and the others in third. It seems to be working well, and adds some intensity while keeping perspective beyond the main character.

    This post is good enough for saving! =)

  • I follow the rule of whoever has the most invested in what's happening in the scene.

  • KT Did says:

    Love the doggie photo 🙂

  • First of all, yes, it is exciting, exhilarating and fun, and it's damn hard work if I'm being totally honest. I suppose that is down to how the experience is treated though. I started with my allocated/suggested blogs, but as two of them were unresponsive I widened my comments to embrace a total of 14 sites. On a daily basis it takes some doing, but it can be done.
    Now, the POV questions. I like to use omniscient or third person, which allows plenty of freedom with perspective. I have a story in the wings in first person, but I'm finding it restrictive.
    As a reader, I'm always wary of the POV. Before becoming a serious writer I would never have noticed it.
    Hope you're feeling much better.

  • Madhu says:

    Very good point. Being a novice writer, I learnt it the hard way, when one of my stories for the A-Z challenge had a slip in point of view. Now I am trying to pay cautious attention to this while writing. I am enjoying following your posts.

  • I rarely know if the characters are 1st person to 3rd person until I start to start. If it doesn't feel right, I move on.

  • Nicole Pyles says:

    I tend to like 1st person POV when I'm writing a lead female character and 3rd person POV when I'm writing a male lead character. Not sure if those are totally hard and fast rules for me, but it helps me get a bigger grasp on the story.

  • Angela Brown says:

    Because I'm a bit of a plotser, I will start the story has the character breaks things down to me. So far, I've done more 3rd person, multi-POV but I've also gone with first person POV when the voice fit.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I practically go nuts when I'm deciding my pov for a new project. It takes me a long time to settle on which pov will tell the story I want to tell. I love Sol Stein! He's the best.

  • JJ says:

    Love this site! I am your newest follower.

  • Great picture and thought-provoking posts. The books I liked as a kid were all third person omniscient or third person limited, and I seemed to have stayed with third person limited with occasional first person pov reads. It's kind of interesting because I think I would like first person, but somehow, it can be intrusive at times.

  • Sandy says:

    That picture cracked me up. Your advice is probably quite good for the writers out there. Been wanting to ask you, are you active in all those social networks you have listed with logo's after your post? I don't know what some of them are, but you have me curious.
    Traveling Suitcase L

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