Narration | Behind the Story

The order of event has been chosen, as well as the level of reader interaction. Now it’s time to decide whose perspective the story will be told from, and what tense that involves.

Point of View: This determined who is telling the story, who the story is being told to, how much the reader gets to know, and how reliable that information is.

First Person: Narrated using “I” and “me.” A character is the one telling the story from their own perspective. They describe things as they experienced them, and the reader can only know what that characters knows and chooses to tell. The reader also only knows the thoughts and feelings of the character telling the story. The character telling the story may be telling the truth, or they may be unreliable, either because they are lying or because they themselves do not know the truth.

Second Person: Narrated using “you.” This could either be the writer speaking to the reader or a character talking to another character. This isn’t a very common point of view in fiction writing.

Third Person: Narrated using “he/she.” The narrator is removed from the story, describing the things the characters are doing from an outside perspective.
There are more types of point of view within third person. I’m not going to break them down, but basically you need to decide if you will tell your readers everything that is happening, give small glimpses into other things that are happening that the character the story follows may not know, or just what the character the story is following knows.

Alternating: In first or third person, the story switches between the perspectives of multiple characters.

Tense: When the story happens/happened/will happen.

Past: Everything being told has already happened.

Present: Everything is being told as it happens.

Future: Everything is being told as it will happen. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book written in future tense. Let me know if you’ve read any.

We’re almost there. One more week and the writing can begin.