Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 5, page 1 of 3)

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Chapter 5

If you were involved in a car wreck, your guilt might just depend on "point of view". Point of view means the person/narrator/author who is telling the story. Many times, the impact and creativity of your story depend on what point of view the author uses.

These are the major points of view.

A. First person - A character in the story tells what happens. (The "I" viewpoint).

1. Major - a major character in the story tells what happened 2. Minor - a minor character or observer tells what happened Example: This story involves a character by the name of George who steals something from a store. A customer sees him do it. In first person, major point of view, the story might go like this.

Most people don't even know my name. It's George, in case you were interested.

Don't worry though; I'm just poor white trash.

"Could I help you?" the clerk asked me.

Like I could really afford to buy anything.

"No," I said.

"Sir," a lady said.

I don't know why I did it, but as soon as he turned around, I reached out and grabbed a CD to stuff in my coat.

In first person, minor point of view, the clerk or the lady who sees George steal something could tell the story. If it were written from the lady's viewpoint, the story might go like this.

I saw this kid no more than 13 or 14 years old. He was poor white trash if I ever saw it. I heard the clerk ask him if he needed some help. Like this kid could really afford to buy something.

"Sir," I said. When the clerk turned to me, the boy took something and stuffed it into his coat.

NOTE: An author uses first person point of view for many reason. One reason is that readers can identify more readily with a first person narrator. It's like a friend is talking with them. Also, an author will sometimes use a first person point of view to cast doubt on the believability of a story. For instance, Edgar Allan Poe used first person point of view in some of his weirder stories. That way the reader could just think the narrator was a psycho or something and what happened in the story was not real.

An author will sometimes use first person minor character viewpoint when he doesn't want the reader to know a lot about the main character but still wants the friendliness of the first person viewpoint. Imagine what the Sherlock Holmes stories would be like if Sherlock Holmes told his own story. He'd probably be arrogant and difficult to like. Besides, like Watson, we can be surprised right up until the end of the story also.

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