Unusual Points of View

unusual points of viewSo is that all I have to say on point of view? No. Today I want to talk about unusual points of view. You don’t see these often.

Out of these rarities, probably the most common is the epistolary.  A dear friend of mine, Jodi Cleghorn, collaborated on one of these with Postmarked: Piper’s Reach, which you can read online if you’re quick… they’re taking it down at the end of July as they prepare it for traditional publication. The entire story is told through letters. These days, you can find the epistolary form to include diaries, memos, emails, interviews, and all sorts of written communications.

Second person puts the reader as the protagonist. It can be unsettling for the reader, and it’s hard to pull off because the reader’s first reaction is usually to resist.

You step up to the monument, scanning the list of names, looking for the one with meaning. That should have meaning. There it is. You run your fingers lightly over the embossed letters.

As the reader, it’s a bit strange at first, especially when the character does something you personally wouldn’t do. Your natural inclinations want to resist, which pulls you out of the story.

First person plural uses “we” as the viewpoint, while third person plural uses “they.” These points of view are usually limited to works of experimental science fiction because they are most suitable for hive mindsets, like the Borg from Star Trek.

For fans of children’s books and fantasy/science fiction, you may run across nonhuman POV. Usually, we find they talk, think, and act just like we do. Not only does that help us relate to them, it helps us understand them. If they didn’t, we might have a difficult time understanding what they were doing and why. One of my favorites that deals with nonhuman characters is Watership Down by Richard Adams. The complex lives of the rabbits in the warren hooked me completely.