One of the assignments I had to complete last semester for my Master of Arts in Creative Writing was a research paper on some aspect of writing. Graduate students were able to negotiate their own topic.
Point of View
I decided to write my paper on the importance of ‘point of view‘ in any piece of fiction. I also planned to cover the different forms of point of view and the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. An ambitious project; whole books have been written on the subject. I only had 2000 words. I must have sounded convincing however, because I received a Distinction for my paper (and only one mark off a High Distinction).
The importance of Point of View
Here is a small extract from my introduction:
Point of view is of vital importance to all writers of fiction. Point of view may appear to have little to do with plot or structure, beginning or ending and even characterisation, but it can impact upon the effectiveness of those elements. Point of view is how the story is told, who tells the story and how it sounds to the readers. â€˜To put this most simply, point of view is merely a decision the writer makes that will determine through whose eyes the story is going to be toldâ€™. (Elizabeth George, crime writer) This is a fundamental decision that needs to be made by the writer right at the beginning.
The effects of Point of View
The point of view chosen by the author fundamentally affects the way readers will respond emotionally to the fictional characters. For example, if the story is told from the point of view of rapist, this will differ markedly from the story told by the victim. It will totally change the mood, tone and voice of the writing. It could also impact upon how the characters are depicted by the author.
I may write about this topic in more detail in future posts. Let me know in the comments or via the contact form if you’d like to read more on this topic.