A Matter of Perspective


By Alberto Pupo

Perspective is everything in writing. A narrative can take on many different forms simply by making a simple adjustment like perspective. Some perspectives give you an intimate look, others give you a grand scope of things and give you a bird’s eye view. Which perspective works best? Well, that is basically up to you?

The first person takes one inside the mind of a character. It displays, thoughts, feelings, actions, musings. It allows the reader to become intimately familiar with a character and by following the narrative through the eyes of a specific character it allows the reader to live the life of that character. This is a very useful perspective, The one caveat where the first person becomes a liability is in character itself. Are you witnessing the narrative through the eyes of a deeply complex individual? Or through the eyes of someone that is so generic and boring that this is a life you rather not live. The first person is best suited for really strong and well-developed characters.

Then we have the third person. This is the God perspective. Where the narrator can jump in and out of the minds of all the players. Naturally, this can be done via a limited view, confined to a few characters. Or it can be done in an omniscient way. This perspective is interesting as the reader gets to know a little of everything from everyone. It also works well when you are building a very complex world and rely on a story which makes use of world building and setting as it gives an in-depth perspective. The one caveat with this type of perspective is that it can get out of hand and if not crafted carefully can become confusing to a reader especially if the perspective is shifted too quickly or within a single scene. However, if done correctly, it will pay off.

Second person point of view… This is never truly done n fiction. However, it was tried by author Charles Stross in The Halting State. While this perspective is interesting for experimentation, no matter how skillful the writer I do not believe this perspective works. It is too clunky in a world of fiction, and it disrupts the narrative too much.

So what perspective do you like to write in? Do, you stick to one tried and true or do you switch it around. I would like to see authors comment on this. As for readers what perspective do you like to read? Please be sure to comment as well.


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