Warning: This post is riddled with run-on sentences, missing commas (despicable commas), and parenthetical elements, along with misspelled words and verb tense changes for extra flavor. The editor in me won't let me sleep unless I give you fair warning.
I suspect this is fair enough?
Point of view. Isn't it just great? My very first writer's conference was right after my high school graduation. Once I figured out what it stood for, I thought I knew what it was:
Isn't it that third person, first person, omniscient thing?
But everyone complained that POV was immensely confusing. Deciding on whether you write in third person or in I's doesn't seem that confusing. Perhaps I didn't know what it was after all. So I went to this class that Tim Shoemaker taught about POV (if you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak, GO. He is one of the best speakers I've heard.) And I found out-
Wow, this is not what I thought it was. POV is rather frustrating.
I'll try to stick to the basics and then we'll elaborate later. Point of view does begin with all that third person, first person stuff. Meaning, is your story written like this:
Third person observer:
Tessa shuffled down the street. She kept her head down in the crowd. A man followed her. With every step he came closer. He grabbed her. Tessa fought back as he dragged her down an alley.
Third person personal:
Tessa shuffled down the street. She wished her brother would come to the theater with her. He'd really enjoy it. Her shoes scuffed the ground. A hand clamped around her mouth. She pulled back, but another hand grabbed her arm. Who? What was going on? She tried to kick free as the person dragged her down an alley.
The street is really crowded today. I wish Cameron would've come to the theater with me. He doesn't get out anymore. He'd really enjoy-
A hand clamps around me mouth. I jerk away, but the hands are two strong. Who? What's going on? I kick and twist, but it doesn't matter. Whoever it is, is drags me down an alley.
Okay, so maybe I changed verb tenses with you when we went into first person. Sorry about that. Very bad Ashley.
But on with POV, heh. The third person observer is probably more like omniscient(which I will not get into because I don't fully understand it, if someone does I'd love to hear what you have to say). You are writing more from your own point of view. You can see everything happening, you can make witty author comments about what's happening, BUT you are you and not one of the characters so you don't know what any of them are thinking. You can speculate what they may be thinking, but, really, the readers only hear your thoughts.
Third person personal. Very different. Still third person. But we get to see through the eyes of the point of view character. We see what she sees, we experience what she experiences, but nothing more. If she is surprised by a man grabbing her from behind, than so are the readers.
First person is, well, first person. What can I say? It's as if the point of view character is actually narrating the story herself. And again, the readers can only know what she knows. It's more personal than third person.
But who is the point of view character? Well, normally if it's third person observer, that would be you the writer. The others? Normally, it's thought to be the main character. But you can write from another characters' eyes, or point of view. The point of view character is who's eyes you are seeing the story through at that moment.
When I got home from that first conference, I looked at the first scene of my WIP, and-
Absolute horror. POV mistakes galore.
Tune in next time to learn about head-hopping and other commons POV mistakes.