Hello, my name is Dennis Swan. I was asked by Island City Publishing to write this guest column. Since I published my first novel last August, I know what many new authors need to know before they publish!
The first thing I am going to talk to you about is how important having the correct ‘Point of View’ is. Point of View, or POV, most people think of as being your opinion, or the way you think about a subject, be it in a discussion, an argument, or non-fiction writing.
In a fiction story, the POV is the narrator's position relative to the description of events. In Latin, this is called ‘punctum vicus’ - the point of sight. In German, ‘Gesichpunkt’ -face point, or which way you point your face.
There are four types of POV in writing:
First person – I am telling the story. Example: I walked into the barn and saw the sheriff was dead on the ground. As I ran to the phone, I wondered, "who do you call if the sheriff is dead?"
Second person – The story is told to you. Example: You talk off your shoes and sit down. You're too tired to make supper for the kids. You wished life wasn't so hard, but there it was, and there was nothing you could do about it.
Third person – limited – the narrator is telling the story about a he or she to you. Example: Johnny never did care for beans. He hated being forced to eat them as a kid, and he hated them now as an adult.
Third person – omniscient – the narrator is telling the story, and the narrator knows all the characters thoughts. Example: Johnny never did care for beans. He hated them as a kid. Selma loved beans and couldn't wait to get a second helping. Joan scraped her beans off to the dog's plate, just as she always did when no one was looking.
Whatever POV you pick, stick with it and be consistent throughout your story to avoid reader confusion. Many an otherwise good novel has been ruined by the incorrect use of the POV. This is a subject all new author should read up on and become familiar with.