Authors Answer 23 – Point of View

I Read Encyclopedias for Fun

I’m eating bacon.

You’re eating bacon.

He’s eating bacon.

I ate bacon.

You ate bacon.

He ate bacon.

Point of view is a choice every author must make before writing a story.  Which is best for the story? Which is best for the author?  Some authors feel more comfortable using one point of view over the others.  First, second, and third person point of view exist in books, though second person is not common.  Present and past tense are both common, though past is more traditional.  And then there’s the level of omniscience.  We have objective, with no knowledge of a character’s thoughts. We have subjective, with knowledge of one person’s thoughts in each scene, and can switch characters.  This is also like limited omniscient.  And then there’s omniscient where you know everyone’s thoughts at all times.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 23: What is your favourite point of view and tense to write…

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About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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3 Responses to Authors Answer 23 – Point of View

  1. What do you mean by second person?

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    • Second person is “you.” In the example sentences, “You’re eating bacon” is second person present-tense, and “You ate bacon” is second person past-tense. Writing in second person is the least natural sounding, and to some readers (like me), it also feels invasive and pushy, as if the author is telling me not just what to think and feel but also what to do.

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