The most important part of crafting a well-written story is to make informed and intentional choices about how a story will be told. One element that needs to be decided at the beginning of a story is the point of the narrator. In this video, editor Helga Schier teaches authors how to choose the most effective point of view for each story and defines several aspects of point of view. The first is the difference between first and third person narration. A first-person narrator has the advantage of being intensely personal, with up-close descriptions of inner or emotional life. A third-person narrator, though, has the opportunity to be “all-knowing.” This voice isn’t limited by what it can experience with the senses, but instead has access to all parts of the narrative. Schier also describes what limits can be placed on this type of narration. She says that when choosing a point of view, it’s important to remember the relationships between character, narrator, and reader. The choice depends largely on how intimate you want those relationships to be, as Schier explains. It’s also important to consider genre when choosing the point of view. For example, memoirs and coming-of-age stories are often written in the first-person point of view. However, historical fiction, adventure stories, and science fiction stories are often written in the third-person point of view. Watch the clip below to learn more from Schier about choosing point of view and primary characters.
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