She recently had some mobile woes and took the plunge to get a new phone. It wasn’t as straight forward as just popping to the shops to get it and she had to wait F O R E V E R for her new handset to come in. She this on Instagram and I offered a few words of support. We got messaging and she asked if I’d help her test out her new mobile with an IG live.
As you know, I am trying to get braver in front of the camera My inner introvert was screaming “Say no!” but to get more experience on camera, I said Yes. And, I am so glad I did. Layla was so lovely to speak to.
We agreed a date & time for the Instagram Live, and both connected without any issues. Yay!
We mostly discussed writing and reading romance. I discovered her novels are steamy, and her series features around diverse characters. Her readers demanded more stories about her side characters, so she wrote some novellas. You can discover more about her book here.
She also shared tips with me on plotting. And, we covered writing in different point of views and making believable characters. She is a developmental editor and we both discussed how valuable they are. She has five novels and uses a developmental editor too. You can find out more about her services here.
This article is about how to choose the best Point Of View for your story.
View point examples
Here are some examples of the view points you may consider using for writing your story. It helps to understand these when making your decision.
NB: These examples have a Halloween horror theme…
First person: when the whole story is told from their view point. A good way to show their inner emotions and thoughts. Uses “I” and “We”.
My clammy hand shook as I pushed open the door and gagged at the vile stench.
Second person: rarely used in fiction as it can sound like you are giving instruction but good for choice-adventure style stories. Uses “You”.
As you enter the dimly lit room, the sharp smell of rotting corpses makes you gag.
Third person: the story is told as if you are an observer watching what is taking place – very useful for stories with many characters. Uses “He”, “She”, “It” and their name.
There are different types of third person.
Limited Third Person: This will follow a MC but will give the reader the experience of watching what is happening, although it is still possible for the writer to share the MCs thoughts and feelings. Sometimes called “Close Third Person”.
Her sweaty hand opened the door. As she entered the room, she gagged at the vile stench.
Omniscient Third Person: The reader watches the scene as the writer tells them all the characters thoughts, feelings and background and can even share their own thoughts during the story. Sometimes called “Distant Third Person”.
If she had any sense, the stench should have deterred her from entering the room.
If you decide that the story will follow a single character then you will want to choose either:
First person: Choose to write in first person view if it is important for your reader to know your character intimately. You will need to share their inner most thoughts and feelings and they will have no secrets from the reader.
Limited Third Person: Alternatively, you can choose to write in Limited Third Person view. This isn’t as intimate but the reader is watching what the MC is doing and you can share their thoughts and feelings with the author.
Readers enjoy stories with a single main character because they can get to know them and understand their actions and reactions. It is easier for the reader to form an attachment as they will care whether your character succeeds or fails and this keeps them engaged.
If you choose to tell the story from multiple characters this can enable you to show more of what is happening and is less restrictive.
FirstPerson: If you chose to tell the story in first person, make sure that when you switch between characters it is easy for the reader to follow. For example, you could start a new chapter or section that is headed with the new person’s name i.e. “Gwyn’s Point of View”.In addition, you will need to ensure each character has a strong and unique voice so they are easy to identify.
Limited Third Person: Similar things to consider as in first person, although, it can be easier to establish who is being followed as the writer can give the characters name within the narrative.
Omniscient Third Person: This point of view is often described as being ‘god like’ as the writer knows and shares everything about the characters. The writer can move from character to character within a chapter and is particularly useful when writing action.
Mixed: You could use different view point styles for different characters to make it clear when the voice has changed. The risk of this is that readers get comfortable with a certain POV style and if it is suddenly changed, it can throw them out of the story.
Readers can struggle with attaching to multiple characters as it doesn’t allow them sufficient time to get to know them and care about their conquests. In addition, they may like one voice and not be able to stand the other voice which could ruin the story for them.
Which to choose?
If you write a chapter and it’s not working, simply re-write it in another POV or from another characters perspective. The change in voice could solve your problem. Don’t be afraid to try a POV you’ve never tried before.
Last month I did #PitMad. This Twitter event is where writers tweet a pitch for their book. Interested editors/agents like the tweet to request a submission. Writers then check the submission guidelines and submit if they are interested.Twitters can support writers by retweeting the pitch – but must not like (only agents/editors can like).
The event took place on 6 Sept. Pitches must fit in one tweet and be for a complete and polished manuscript. You can tweet three times for each novel within the 24h period. The tweet can be the same pitch or different. You can pitch more than one novel during the event.
There were loads of amazing pitches. I easily could have given into the voices of doubt in my head and been intimidated. But, if I don’t try new things, I’ll never learn. If I shy away from putting myself out there then I’ll never achieve my dream of being published. It was scary but I’m pleased I did it.
I only joined the event during the final hours. If I were to participate again in future, I’d spread my three tweets out throughout the day.
I noticed many writers compared their book to two titles already in the market. I’ve never done this so it might be good for future thought.
I did get a like! Getting a like was very exciting, I felt as if I had finally made it and my husband had to remind me that although they’ve requested I submit, it doesn’t mean they will sign me.
In fact, turns out, just because they requested my manuscript doesn’t mean I have to submit to them. After looking at their website, I choose not to submit…
Why? The publisher is a new print launching in the Fall. That’s not a problem. Their website was incomplete and their facebook page had only been active for three weeks. I could have ignored all this if I could find out about the agents background in publishing but there is nothing. No history.
My heart sank as I realised, this might not be the big break I had thought it was. I’ll keep my eye on Burchette and Ferguson but until I know more about who is behind the company and what they can offer me, I will leave it for now.
The next #PitMad is on 6 Dec and I’d love to hear your tips so I am better prepared next time. Have you done #PitMad? Can I see your pitch? How do you decide what book is most like yours? Do you think I was right to ignore my request?
I’d like to do more Twitter events. I wish there was somewhere I could go to find out about events taking place. Do you know of such a place?
Earlier this month, Curtis Brown held a twitter event called #AskAnna where Anna Davis was online to answer questions about writing and publishing. She is an author and worked in publishing for over a decade and delivers some of the CB Creative courses.
The event was good fun – although, a little slow to start. Afterwards, I thought of more questions I wish I had asked but this was my first twitter Q&A that I’ve participated in. Usually, I can’t attend as I’m at work.
If you couldn’t make it, you’ll be pleased to know I saved the Q&As I found most useful from the event (start at the bottom and scroll up):
I hope CB do more Twitter events in future and that I can attend. This was good fun. Best of all, it was great to be invited to ask questions as I then knew we were welcomed and not a nuisance. I would love to hear of more a Twitter events – have you done any?
In 2017, I completed the Curtis Brown course Start Writing Your Novel. Click here to read my review about it. I’m really tempted to do more courses with them but at the moment, I don’t have the time or money.
The Literacy Consultancy looks really good but, again, I don’t have the money to pay for their services at the moment. They edit and review manuscripts and advise of marketability and who to approach and have a mentor scheme where someone with experience supports you with in-depth advice on your novel. I can’t believe I’ve not heard of this organisation until now! Have you?
This challenge made me think about the reliability of characters especially in first person as it is all about how they see themselves and the world. It can be very bias. By flipping view points in a story you can give the reader a completely different experience.
I love writing in first person and find writing in third person the hardest. I enjoy experimenting and pushing myself to try new things.
Let me know what you think and if you gave this challenge a go.