The Key to a Great Story – The Basics of Perspective

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Perspective-boat-land

Every story is written from a perspective, and what I mean by this is the grammatical perspective. Generally speaking stories are written either in the First Person or one of the various Third Person Perspectives.

The differences between First and Third is the types of pronouns that you use and also the limitation you have on what you can tell. A story written in the First Person is written from the direct perspective of the character you have selected to tell the story. A story written in the third person can either be from the restricted perspective of one character or from the unlimited perspective of you as the author.

There is another perspective, but I will not be discussing in a post of it’s own because it is very rarely used, is the Second Person perspectives. How this one works just basically is that the pronouns used, make you the reader the character in the book that experience the plot and world. For example, Annie opened the door and the murderer attacked, slicing open her stomach with a knife would become instead You open the door to the room; you feel a pain in your stomach before you realise that you had been attacked. Okay not the greatest example in the world, but you get the idea. It is difficult to do well and I don’t recommend it.

For the other perspectives though I will prepare a scene to demonstrate the potential of the other perspectives. I mentioned in my post on sources of inspiration a character I had been developing called ‘The Debt Collector’. I’ve been working on her since then, and I can use her arrival in a town as an example of the differences between first person, third person restricted and third person unlimited.

In the upcoming posts I will write this scene in several different ways to show you how the different perspectives work and can change the same scenario, in some cases quite considerably. Also, I will re-write the scene to show how differences within the same perspective can alter the story and how the audience perceives it as well.

Once I’ve done that I’ll discuss in further details the merits and disadvantages of each and how you can go about choosing which one you might wish to use. And then how you go about potentially breaking all the rules.

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About kabrown4

A quaint life full of teacups searched for inspiration to fuel a writer dreaming of fantasy worlds that are full of friends found only in words. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and over the years I have developed many stories and many characters. This is my blog about the journeys I've been on over the years, and the road I'm still travelling as a writer.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Key to a Great Story – First Person Perspective | A Young Writer's Notebook

  2. Pingback: The Key to a Great Story – Third Person Restricted Perspective | A Young Writer's Notebook

  3. Pingback: The Key to a Great Story – Third Person Unlimited Perspective | A Young Writer's Notebook

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