I had a plan to write a page a day. Somewhere I heard that successful writers work on their novels every day. It’s a nice goal, but I got stuck on page five. I realized it was time to make some decisions about my characters and how I want to present them. More important than meeting my daily writing goal, was to dig deeper into my characters and how they will show up in the story. Then, I realized I need to think more about my audience to determine who will be introduced first and how important each character will be in the story.
I will write more later about choosing an audience, how to connect with my chosen audience, and who might actually purchase my story. Right now, I want to give some thought to who I am writing my story for, and later revisit these thoughts if needed. I am still wondering if this story would work better for a young adult or adult audience. My hope is that there would be interest in both ages group, but I need to choose one focus while writing it.
It’s very helpful to choose the Point of View (POV) very early in the story. You want to decide which character you want the reader to care about and be most interested in following. You feel more involved with the character, walking along with them through the story with a first person POV, but as described in the article, The Basics of Point of View for Writers, first person restricts you to one person’s view and perspective of what is happening in the story. A third person or more objective bird’s eye view brings in thoughts, actions, and activities from more than one character.
In my story, A Band of Light, I choose third person POV. When I started the idea for the story, I felt like it would be from Arin’s perspective. I wanted the reader to empathize with the young person who would shortly be turning 18; putting in feelings from my younger self as I had always intended. As I wrote more of the story, it seemed to be missing something. I began to feel more of the mother’s perspective than I had previously. Now I am going back and adding Page 1a, A Mother’s Dilemma, to the beginning of the story to see how it feels to start with a mother/daughter dialogue. Without changing the POV, I might change the perspective and viewpoint of the story.
I tried an exercise to see what happens if I change a sentence from A Band of Light and switch the point of view to see it from different POV’s. I changed the sentence slightly with each POV. It can be helpful to move the words around and see where I want the most attention, feeling, and reaction.
First person: “I need to get out quickly.” (empathize with the character)
First person plural: “We have to get out of here.” (sense of community)
Second person: “You know you need to get out quickly.” (talk to the reader)
Third person: Arin knew she needed to act fast, and the only thing she could think to do was to get out. (share the character’s experience from their perspective)
Give this exercise a try and change the POV for a sentence or paragraph in your story or writing to see which perspective brings empathy, which one works for giving knowledge or information, and which one gives you multiple perspectives. Each feels very different.
One way I want to connect with readers is through social media platforms like Substack. Sharing our writing, giving feedback, and finding out who cares about a topic are all things we can accomplish working together as a writing community.
Connect with Nancy J. Miller.