We’ve talked about point of view before on the West Lothian Writers website but today we are looking at the topic from a different angle. At our meeting tonight we have adapted one of the brilliant worksheets from ereadingworksheets.com into a workshop on the topic of point of view.
Of course we started with the definitions of the five kinds of point of view you can in creative writing. They are:
- First Person – where the narrator is usually the protagonist or central character in the story.
- Second Person – This form of point of view is rarely used for creative writing but own used for instructions & choose your own adventure books.
- Third Person Objective – the narrator tells the story only describing characters’ behavior and dialogue. No inner character thoughts at all.
- Third Person Limited – The narrator’s perspective is limited to the internal workings of one character. Can switch characters but not mid scene. Usually at the end of a chapter.
- Third Person Omniscient – the narrator describes the thoughts and feelings of every character in the book at any point. Can switch perspectives mid scene if required.
The First Exercise
We then asked our members to identify which points of view were being using in the three extracts below and how did they know this.
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
We were driving along the road from Treguier to Kervanda. We passed at a smart trot between the hedges topping an earth wall on each side of the road; then at the foot of the steep ascent before Ploumar the horse dropped into a walk, and the driver jumped down heavily from the box. He flicked his whip and climbed the incline, stepping clumsily uphill by the side of the carriage, one hand on the footboard, his eyes on the ground. After a while he lifted his head, pointed up the road with the end of the whip, and said: “The idiot!” I was startled by his outburst.
Seventh Grade by Gary Soto
On the first day of school, Victor stood in line half and hour before he came to a wobbly card table. He was handed a packet of papers and a computer card on which he listed his one elective, French. He already spoke Spanish and English, but he thought some day he might travel to France, where it was cool; not like Fresno, where summer days reached 110 degrees in the shade.
Rikki-tikki-tavi by Rudyard Kipling
Rikki-tikki heard them going up the path from the stables, and he raced for the end of the melon patch near the wall. “I was not a day too son,” he said; for he could see the baby cobras curled up inside the skin, and he knew that the minute they were hatched they could kill a man or mongoose. He bit off the tops of the eggs as fast as he could, taking care to crush the young cobras. Nagaina spun clear round, forgetting everything for the sake of her eggs. She saw she had lost her chance of killing Teddy, and the last egg lay between Rikki-tikki’s paws.
The Second Exericse
We concluded the workshop by asking our members to re-write one of the passages above from either a Third Person Limited point of view into a Third Person Omniscient point of view or from a Third Person Omniscient point of view to a Third Person Limited point of view. Why not try it yourself and post your efforts in the comments below
The Original Worksheet and Answers
You can download the original ereadingworksheets.com worksheet here, which includes an additional five examples. For the answers to the first exercise then click here while you can find the version we used for our workshop here which also includes the definitions with examples