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Point of View – POV

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This is the angle from which the story is told:

First person narrative

The story is told by the protagonist who is in the first person (“I did this…”).

This is a modern style, most contemporary novels are first person. There is also the unreliable narrator who tells the story, but the reader has to work out the puzzle of what they are saying with their restricted or self-deceptive narration.

An example of this is ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters, which has the entire plot external to the first person narrator; this has caused confusion in many readers as the effect is not given away in the story.

Second person narrative

Least common and least likely to be sustained over a long period (“You did that…”).

Third person restrictive (restricted) narrative

God’s eye or Authorial view but within a character’s mind. (“This happened, then he thought, I did that…”)

Third person narrative

God’s eye or Authorial view person or overview (“They did this…”).

Plot and Script writing

In the film Cloverfield, it starts out with a character, who is representing the first person, as they have a hand held camera and are talking over it, rather than the usual movie observed character.

As they need to get a lot of action in, it then changes to a more usual third person overview, making the character become a viewer of the whole scene.

So towards the end, the character is in a helicopter flying over the scene, looking down. This is a third person view, even though the original character is present.

Film script writing often has this problem of point of view, for more intensity, need a character view – first person, but to show events and plot progression, need the third person view.

Film is a more fluid media for scene shifting and view changes, as people will believe what they are shown and wonder about it later.

In written fiction, some sort of order is required – or heavy signposting – or the reader will soon be lost and put the book down – the end!

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