Saturday, August 8, 2009

Viewpoints in Fiction Writing

By Chris L. Smith

One of the first things a reader will notice when they pick up a new book is the viewpoint the story is set in. There are three basic writing viewpoints: first person, second person, and third person. First and third person are by far the most popular.

How the reader reacts to your story will immediately be triggered by the point of view they are seeing the story. Who is telling the story? Every story is told by someone and how the story is told is very important to getting the best message across to the reader. So let's take a look at the viewpoints so you can decide which is the best way to convey your idea.

First Person: This viewpoint comes directly through the main character's eyes. "I lifted the baby from the stroller" is a simple example. First person allows a writer to directly engage the reader with the main character's thoughts and reactions. It allows a detailed and secretive look into their deepest desires. This can be an extremely useful tool, but has its drawbacks. The biggest being the story is primarily told through one set of eyes. For writers it can bog them down into one frame of mind. With careful attention, first person can be a wonderful way to write a book.

Second Person: This viewpoint is told from the "you" standing. "You walked down the street to the waiting car". While second person is not used much, it can be effective in small parts of a book like a prologue. For the reader, it drives home the point of being involved with the story.

Third Person: Probably the most popular viewpoint is third person omniscient. This is a panoramic view of the characters and scenes throughout the story. Most books by Stephen King are written in this style. With very complex plots or a plethora of characters, third person is the best choice for enveloping your complete idea.

When an idea first crosses your mind, a viewpoint can immediately become associated with it. But you should take the time to consider which viewpoint can show your story the best. Finding the proper "voice" is just as important as the original idea.

Chris Smith is an avid writer with over ten years of experience in the literary world. On his site, he offers free help to any writer. Each day a new short story is published on the site with a direct link to a discussion and feedback forum. Anyone can submit a story to be published on the homepage. There is absolutely no cost.

Other resources such as literary agency lists and in-depth critiques are also available for free. If you want to push your writing to the next level, it's the perfect place for you.

For more information head over to the homepage at

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