Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writing Workshop - Choosing Your Storyteller

Points of View in Writing, by C.E. Kilgore

So, you have your story plotted out, your character sheets prepped and your universe building on its way. Looks like you are just about ready to start writing a great SFR! 

Hold on a sec – I hate the stop you when you're about to get started, but there is still an important decision to make. Which of your fantastic characters is going to tell this story you have rolling around in your head?

Who you decide to tell your story can make a huge difference in how your story unfolds and how your readers are able to connect to it. For example, you may have a group of space rebels fighting against a tyrannical overlord. If you choose to tell the tale through the overlord’s perspective, well – that would certainly create a different tale than if you had chosen the captain of the rebel space cruiser, right?

Ah! You say you are writing in the third, so you can give an objective point of view? It’s true that when you write in third objective, you can head-hop around from point of view to point of view, but you need to still choose a focus. In SFR, this is typically the two protagonists. If you try to give too many points of view, you  risk muddling your story and exhausting the reader. You also need to choose a main point of view. This will give your story impact, allow the reader to create an emotional connection to the story and pick a team to root for.

When you are writing in the first person, choosing your point of view becomes a critical decision. A common tactic in romance is to perspective-hop in a see-saw fashion, alternating the chapters from one perspective to the other. So, if your love interests are a space captain for the rebel alliance and a commander for the imperial fleet, you would have one chapter in the captain’s perspective and the next chapter in the commander’s perspective – and then repeat this alternation every chapter.

If, however, you want to tell your first-person story without alternating, then you have to really think about which character you want your audience to connect with. Do you want to tell the story of the captain fighting for her beliefs while she falls heads over heels for a stubborn commander? Or, would you rather tell the story of a powerful commander who has to question his own imperial system as his heart begins beating for the beautifully strong rebel captain?

Hint – there is no wrong answer. 

It’s a personal choice, but you should consider who is best to tell the story. Are there certain goals or ideals you want the reader to understand? Is your chosen point of view unique, or has it been done a million times? Is your chosen point of view something that the reader will be able to relate to and connect with?  

With my own series, I use third person, but each book chooses two main points of focus. I do include side chapters that give the story from an alternate perspective, but I keep the focus of the story on the two main characters. This wasn't always easy, as my series are character-driven stories. 

Choosing who gets to have their say and who has to remain on the sidelines is never easy, but it's important to keep your story tight and let your main characters shine.  

To see how I chose to handle my storytelling points of view, you can download a free copy of Ghost In The Machine (Click Here) 


C.E. Kilgore is a self-published author of Space Opera and Contemporary Romance. Check her out on her website, cekilgore.com, Facebook or Twitter. She is always open to questions about writing and self-publishing. For self-publishing help, check our her blog, TracingTheStars.com

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