Thursday, April 24, 2008

Point of View as a story telling tool: Notes from a session with Krista Marino, eidtor at Delacorte

Our bellies are full of breakfast, caffeine courses through our veins (or at least through mine with an extra cup in hand) and Krista Marino takes the chair as we anxiously await her session on "Using POV as a Tool to Tell Your Story." Here are the insights that Krista presented: things I had never really thought about before.

1) The point of view that you use can either help your story or hurt it. Well used POV adds to the story and gives it depth.

2) You should not have a preconcieved idea of what POV to use and it should not be forced. You do not choose the POV. POV chooses you.

3) Good POV makes your story so engaging that the narrator becomes invisible. However, the narrator in your story should have a "personality" of their own even if it 's in 3rd person and not an actual character in the story. A good POV will not draw attention to what POV is used.

1st Person POV:
A. This type of POV tends to enhance a character driven story.
1. greater intimacy with the characters opinions
2. greater intimacy with the M/C in general

B. Caution for using 1st Person POV:
1. It's important for the reader to know the MC well
2. Krista feels this type of POV can come across as "contrived" if it's not done well
3. Can slow pacing

C. Good examples of. . . .
1st person: Skin Deep by e.m. Crane
1st person past progressive: Hell Week
1st person Past tense: King Dork

3rd Person POV:

A. This type of POV is good for . . . .
1. multiple protagonists
2. plot driven stories
a. the narrator is kept at an arms length from the protagonist
which is why it's difficult to use this for a character driven story.

B. Caution with using 3rd Person POV. . .
1. Less intimacy with the protagonist
2. Can come across as a more judgemental and disengaged
3. There's a tendency to forget to include emotion

C. Good exapmples of . . .
3rd person Limited: The Giver by Lois Lowry
3rd person limited omniscient: Ball Don't Lie
3rd person omniscient: Little Women

How does POV add to the story? Example:
Ball Don't Lie uses 3rd person limited omnicient. The character is very withdrawn and isolated. This POV mirrors the MC's personality and adds to the tone and feel of the story. If 1st person had been used, it would have told us too much about the M/C, and therefore would have taken away from his personality.

Writing Exercise: Try writing your story from different POV's and see which one tells your story best. What POV adds to the "voice" of your story?


TinaFerraro said...

Hi! I'm one of Krista Marino's authors, and I can vouch that her advice is always sage! Thanks...I enjoyed reading this.

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