In the Prose Department, itâ€™s Review Week (a.k.a. Grab Your Knees And Suck Air Week) here at SunWinks!
With the book Point of View: An Anthology, by James Moffett and Kenneth McElheny as our tour guide, weâ€™ve explored 11 possible Narrative Point of View techniques over the past months.
Here is a list of all 11, in the order given in our text, ranging from the narrowest, most subjective, and most intimate to the broadest, most reliable, and most omniscient.Â Each POV is hyperlinked to the installment of SunWinks! in which it was discussed; each of these articles includes helpful examples, many of which you can read on-line.
Each of these techniques has its own rationale and purpose.Â One of the most important things to learn from this survey is that your choice of point of view should be a conscious one, because that point of view will itself ultimately become part of the story.
These 11 possibilities obviously encompass much more than just a choice between first person and third person narration.Â (As Iâ€™ve mentioned before, I found this book when I was trying to answer the question for myself:Â when do I use first person narration, when do I use third person, and why?)Â When deciding what narrative technique to use, you will want to answer:
- Who is doing the narrating?Â Is the narrator a specific, identifiable person with a role in the story?
- How much does the narrator know?
- How objective or detached is the narrator from what is happening?
- To whose thoughts and motives should the reader have access? Will this include the main character, or not?Â Why?
Prose:Â Â Write a story. Maximum 1500 words.Â If you need a topic, consult our other ab-fab Gather Writing Essential editorsâ€™ prompts.
Or choose a story youâ€™ve already written. Optionally, polish it with point-of-view considerations in mind--e.g., does your narrator know something that that character would not ordinarily know in the context of the story?
Tell us what Narrator/Point of View technique the story is written in. Â Extra Credit: tell us what elements give your story that POV*, and tell us why you chose that particular technique.
*For example: it's in Memoir/Observer Narration because 1) it's written in the first person, and the narrator is 2) an identifiable character who is 3) not the main character.
Poetry: See last weekâ€™s edition of SunWinks!
PutÂ SunWE in the title and tags.
- Indicate in some way which devices or techniques I should be paying attention to.
- This prompt does not turn into a pumpkin a week (or even two) from today.Â If your piece isnâ€™t done in the next week or two, get it in when you can.Â This is supposed to be fun.
- I will comment on every submission and include a link to it in the next column.
- If you would like a little more academic critique--but still very friendly and positive--include the word "rigorous" in your post (e.g. "rigorous critique wanted").
Responses to previous prompts are linked to below.Â Theyâ€™re all quite short, so I hope you can read all or most.Â Let me know if I missed yours.
(In case you read last weekâ€™s column before I found this and slipped it inâ€¦)
Â© 2012 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. Â Please share this on Gather.com, and elsewhere on the web by means of a link back to this page, but please do not copy. Â Doug's latest book is The Depressed Guy's Book of Wisdom from Chipmunka Publishing.
Doug's Gather Group is Depression and Creativity, devoted to creative writing about depression and related illnesses, and creative writing as therapy. Â Please consider joining. Â You can read more of Doug's posts there, or here.