What’s your perspective?

By this, I’m talking about the narrator of the story. From which perspective is your story being told? Picking your perspective is more then just whatever you feel like. Each one brings a stylistic difference with it that will change the way your story is told.

First person

I’ve heard people call first person amateur, but I disagree. It does tend to be the voice most used by beginning writers. First person is easy to start, but hard to master. It is best used in situations where the action is very focused on your main character and they have a very strong voice. Things in the story should be colored toward their opinions and ideas. You should really know your character before jumping into the story.

Second person

Rarely used, and for good reason. Since second person is ,”you,” you’re making the reader the main character. This could be used to create an interesting mood or to place the reader in an uncomfortable situation (I’m thinking the Beatles song, “For No One,” off of Revolver).

Third person limited

Possibly the most versatile voice you can use in short fiction. There is a lot you can do by being detached to your character but only having access to their thoughts. You know have the freedom to describe the actions of other characters separate from the interactions they have with your main character, but since you only have access to their thoughts you can show how they shape that person. It can also give you a detachment, a sort of coldness, to your main character. A desperate emotional situation, with an unfeeling narrator, can feel that much worse.

Third person omniscient

Another voice that would be rather difficult to use. This time, only because of the space requirements. This is much easier to use in novels, where you have the time and space to jump around between your characters. By doing this in a short story, you are limiting how much you get to know about each character you move to, and you already have so little to work with.

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