Point of View

At the retreat this weekend, one of the things that Jennifer Mattson (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) talked about was POV (Point of View).  It is, as she pointed out, the reader’s primary access point to the story.

Second person is used only rarely but brings with it a great sense of immediacy.  One of the books we read for the retreat, You by Charles Benoit, is written in 2nd person.   The only other example we could come up with is a novel by Gary Blackwood.  Of course, we blanked on the title but it was his book about a magician (Second Sight, perhaps?).

Point of view is especially important if your character has a quirky or unique way of expressing herself.  Jennifer’s example was Junie B. Jones.  Love her or hate her, no one else sounds like Junie B.  In first person, it works.

When you want to hide something from the reader, be very careful using first person.  It works in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak because the facts that the narrator is hiding from the reader are also hidden from herself.

We wrapped this session up by rewriting a story from another point of view.  I chose Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard.  Actually, that was the piece that most of us chose.  I have to admit that I was surprised that no one else rewrote the story from the point of view of one of the brothers.  I didn’t get very far but it was fun once I got rolling.  Why not try this exercise with one of your favorite legends or fairy tales?  What knowledge might one of the secondary characters be able to bring to the story?