Perplexing the Perspective

When I’m reading books, I recognize the importance that point of view can have on the story. Having something written in first person creates an automatic connection with the reader, while a story in third person allows the reader to leap from one head to another. Multiple character viewpoints can be used to create a broader look at the world, allowing the reader to put together their own theories based on what they know about the beliefs of the characters.

While I recognize the importance that point of view can have in the telling of a story, it rarely factors into my decision about what perspective to write from. Sometimes I just feel like a story needs to be written from a certain point of view, but generally it’s not even that sophisticated a reasoning.

I go through periods of time where one perspective comes more naturally than others. During high school and the majority of college, the perspective was third person limited. Since graduating, though, I’ve found that first person comes to me much more naturally. I don’t know when the switch occurred. I don’t know why it happened. But I do know that I struggle when writing in any other perspective.

If I don’t make a conscious effort to write in another perspective, my stories invariably end up being written in first, regardless of what would be best for that particular story.

Because I recognize this shortcoming, I will occasionally try to combat it in my flash fiction writing. However, whenever I do, I always come away with the sensation that the story is stilted and suffers from my deviation.

I certainly wouldn’t attempt to write an entire novel in the third person. Not without first finding my own voice in the style.

I think that while it is important for writers to consider what perspective is best for each story, they ultimately need to know their own writing capabilities and what they are comfortable with when they set out on a project. For me, I feel comfortable pushing my boundaries on shorter stories rather than longer ones because if I cannot find my voice in that point of view, it is not as much effort to go in and rewrite it. Other writers may find that committing to a longer project forces them to become more comfortable with that point of view.

There is no right way to choose which point of view to use in the story. It should be a mixture of what feels natural for the story as well as for you.

Push your boundaries. Try a new point of view. Have fun with it.

Because isn’t that why we write? Because we enjoy it?

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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