Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. In this post, we discuss experimenting with viewpoint.
Fish And Rain: Experimenting With Viewpoint
“I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet.” – Douglas Adams
Viewpoint is a great way to experiment with your voice as a writer, to find different techniques for story telling. Too often writers believe they must stick to one viewpoint technique in a novel. This is not true. It is a safe way to write—but it’s not always exciting.
Fluidity. Don’t think of viewpoints as inviolate silos, but rather as fluid brush strokes that can cross over into each other. You can use more than one in a single story or novel. Why not shake it up a bit?
- Second person. In this viewpoint, we almost force the reader to become the narrator, by referring to the subject with an object pronoun. I becomes You. The protagonist becomes not only the main character but anyone who identifies with him.
- Unreliable narrator. When you use this viewpoint, the reader must read between the lines to discover what is really going in in the story. Often the narrator is a fantasist, a liar, a manipulator or someone suffering from a psychological condition.
- Zero viewpoint. There is a point when we leave viewpoint behind and write objective biography or histories. Some stories use no attached viewpoints to create a fairtyale effect or news item-type tone in a story.
Filtering it. Think of a photographer playing with filters and cuts when you experiment with viewpoints.
What if you add in a sepia filter—tell a story that happened a long time ago? Time always changes the tone of viewpoint.
What if you cropped out the surroundings so we focus on only a screaming mouth? The person could be on a roller-coaster or being attacked by riot police. We don’t know. When you leave stuff out, your writing becomes highly subjective and intriguing—this is viewpoint at work.