There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Point of View June 8, 2013

Filed under: Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 2:57 pm
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Point of View in fantasy novels traditionally leans towards third person, but it is possible to successfully write a story of this kind from any perspective. No, really, it is! The difficult part is not the actual writing, but deciding which point of view would suit your narrative better. Below, the different POVs are listed out to help you understand them and choose which works for your story:

First Person (Female)- If you’re writing a young adult fantasy, a female main character, narrating from her first person perspective is probably the best choice. Since the audience at this age will mainly be female readers, the inner thoughts, wishes, fears and dreams of a female protagonist should help your readers connect with the MC and the story.

First Person (Male)- If you’re writing a middle grade fantasy, a male main character, narrating from his first person perspective is probably the best choice. Readers at this level are typically boys so a male protagonist will be someone they can immediately connect with. Girls at this age are also very accepting readers and shouldn’t have an issue reading about a boy.

Third Person Limited- Once the narration is given from outside the protagonist, the narrator themselves take on a certain persona. Depending on whether your main character is male or female, the limited view of the narrator will likely mirror characteristics from this person and that can aid a middle grade or young adult audience. In a limited narrative however, they don’t have much personality and are rather much more like an observer standing on your MCs shoulder.

Third Person Omniscient – This perspective is even further removed from your narrator, regardless of their sex and tends to work best for adult readers. As an omniscient narrator, they can contain their own sort of personality beyond that of the protagonist, or not, it’s your decision. Typically, this kind of narration demands the knowledge of everything in your world and the people within it, so it can create confusion and difficulty in keeping secrets.

No matter which narrative style you choose, be sure that it is the right choice for your novel, your main character and your audience. Of course, any of these can be used in any genre or category of fantasy, the aforementioned groups are only a suggestion.

Sometimes writers have a favorite point of view to use, what’s yours?

~Rachel H


8 Responses to “Point of View”

  1. Michelle Roberts (@michroberts90) Says:

    I’ve found I like using close third. It’s got the closeness of 1st person (i.e. the character is the narrator and we don’t see/hear/think anything outside of the character’s awareness), but it uses she/he instead of I. It’s also a good choice if, like me, there are multiple main characters. I feel like having multiple main characters all written in 1st person gets too confusing.

  2. I used close third for Trinity, so I could have multiple viewpoints but still get into the heads of the characters. I think close third is becoming a very popular choice in fantasy, rather than limited or omniscient third, which were the norms for a long time.

  3. Aldrea Alien Says:

    Everything I write is in close third. I find it comes easier to me than first person (which I mega-failed at).

  4. katemsparkes Says:

    I wasn’t going to comment, but I’ll jump in, since everyone else likes third: First-person is my favourite POV to write, but I like reading anything if it’s well done* (present- or past-tense can affect this a lot, though). I have dual narrators in my current WIP, too, one male and one female (it’s YA Fantasy, so at least one of them goes with the recommendations 🙂 ) It can be difficult, but so far I’m finding it very rewarding. It’s all about what fits the story, right?

    *OK, I have trouble with omniscient third unless it’s handled with nearly-impossible skill.

  5. kathils Says:

    I’ve never successfully pulled off first person, and I used to shy away from books written in that POV. I’ve gotten used to it and do play with it from time to time. I really love 3rd — putting on a character’s skin and telling their story, hopping to another, and another . . .

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