Here is the next chapter of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers". IF you haven't by now (what is wrong with you?), and you are or want to be a writer, you really should get this book. I AM SERIOUS ABOUT THIS!
Chapter 3 Point of View
first person point of view has a number of advantages, the main one
being that it gives your readers a great deal of intimacy with your
What you gain in intimacy with the first person, you lose in perspective.
the other end of the spectrum from the first person is the omniscient
point of view. Instead of being written from inside the head of one of
your characters, a scene in the omniscient point of view is not written
from inside anyone's head.
Note that with the omniscient voice what you gain in perspective you lose in intimacy.
the first person invites intimacy and the omniscient narrator allows
for perspective, the third person strikes balance between the two.
(There is quite a bit of additional information on this topic in the
Another factor that controls your narrative distance is how
much you allow your viewpoint character's emotion to color your
description. (I am still trying to get my Pooh sized brain wrapped
around 'narrative distance'.)
So how much narrative distance is right for you? Broadly speaking the more intimate the point of view, the better.
The emotions have to go someplace and the language of your descriptions is a good place for them.
You want to engage your readers, not drive them to distraction.
need time to settle into a given emotional state, so when you move
quickly from one passion-charged head to another, you're likely leave
them behind. They'll know what our various characters are feeling, but
the won't have time to feel like any of the characters.
you make the point of view clear at the beginning of a scene, you get
your readers involved right away and let them get used to inhabiting
your viewpoint character's head.
Linespaces prepare readers for a
shift (in time, place or point of view), so the change in point of view
won't catch them by surprise. (I recently attempted to read a book where
this skill was totally missing. It was a struggle to follow the story.
The story seemed disconnected and halted almost on every page. I gave up
and did not finish it.)
Point of view is a powerful tool. Master it.