POV: Narrative Defines Your Story

POV, or Point Of View in writing is a great way to move a story along. It can add character and resonance to your story. Depending on which POV is used, a story can have many different interpretations.

In the following examples, we will use Roger, a human, and Max, a dog, to narrate a scene. Each of the characterizations will show how a story can change shape and meaning for the reader. Other examples that will be used will be an outsider narrative and a God narrative.

An outsider narrative shows a scene unfolding where the actions are presented but no internal thoughts. A God narrative is similar to an Outsider narrative except that one is privy to the thoughts and motivations of the characters within a scene. Also with a God narrative, scenes can jump from one character to another without an obvious disconnect.

POV Roger:

I walked into the room and saw Max laying on the floor. He was looking at me expectantly and thumping his tail on the ground. I guess he was happy to see me as it seemed he smiled every time I walked in. I brought the food dish over to him and set it down before him. He licked my hand before he started eating his food. I pet him on the head and then walked back out of the room.

POV Max:

The human walked in with the round thing in his hand and I started beating the floor with my tail. This human always kept me locked in here for long periods of time for no reason. He walked over to me, I could smell the stuff in the round thing, it wasn’t the greatest, but at least I didn’t starve. The human set it down in front of me, so I licked his hand to get it out of the way so I could eat. The human beat me on my head with his hand and then left so I could actually get to the business of eating. As soon as he left, I stopped hitting the floor impatiently with my tail.

POV Outsider Narrative:

Roger opened the door to where Max the dog was sitting. He was thumping the floor with his tail. Roger took Ā the bowl of food to the dog and put it on the floor. Max licked his hand then started eating. After petting Max on the head, Roger left the room.

POV God Narrative:

Roger walked into the room where Max was sitting thumping his tail on the floor. Roger was happy to see that Max was happy that he was bringing him some food. Roger took the bowl to Max and set it down before him and Max licked Roger’s hand thankfully, then he started eating. Roger pet Max on the head and then left the room.

So there we have a few examples of each narrative process and how each one can have an effect on how a story plays out. Depending on which narrative is used, your story will take a life of it’s own. Once one narrative is chosen, it is common for the writer to stick with the same narrative style otherwise your story can be very confusing to readers and make the story much less entertaining.

There are instances though in which it is permissible to switch narrative styles but this must be done carefully. A great way to do this is through dialogue interaction. There, a character within the story can actually change the narrative style without throwing things off as the reader is set up to expect there to be a narrative shift.

However you want to use your narrative, remember, you are pandering to the reader and to keep them interested in what you create.

Good luck in your writing adventures.

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