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Understanding the Impact of Point of View on Character Development

We’ve been talking a lot about point of view (POV), haven’t we? But there’s a good reason for that! It’s a core component of narrative writing, and choosing the right POV can make or break your story. Now, let’s go deeper into the craft of character development and understand how it’s impacted by your chosen POV.

What Is Character Development?

As a character develops throughout your story, they evolve in response to the events and interactions they experience along the way. It’s like taking a shy, awkward teenager and turning them into a confident, fearless superhero. But it can’t be done in a single scene. You need tools like point of view to help make your character behave like a real person would.

How Different Points of View Impact Character Development

The POV you choose allows readers a certain level of access to your character’s thoughts, feelings and experiences.

First-person and third-person POVs give different layers of understanding and intimacy toward your character and greatly impact how the reader develops and perceives the character.

Advantages of First-Person POV in Character Development

First-person POV is my go-to choice when writing Fantasy Romance because it provides an intimate view of my character’s psyche as the story happens around them. My readers get an “all-access pass” to their thoughts and emotions, which can lead to deeper empathy and understanding. Imagine reading a diary; it’s that intimate!

Advantages of Third-Person POV in Character Development

But third-person POV lets you create a broader view of your character and their interactions with their environment. Your readers will see the character from an outside perspective, giving them a fuller view of the character’s actions and how others respond to them.

How to Utilize POV for Stronger Character Development

I always say that one of the keys to utilizing POV for character development is consistency. Stay faithful to your chosen POV, and make sure that the character’s personality, thoughts and growth align with it. Think of it as the guiding light for how your character unfolds throughout your narrative.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The most common mistake is the inconsistency in POV, which we’ve already touched on. Also, avoid “head hopping” in third-person narration, where the focus abruptly shifts from one character’s thoughts to another. Maintain a disciplined focus for a seamless reading experience.

Great Examples of POV Diving Characters

  1. Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin: Martin uses multiple third-person limited POVs to develop a vast cast of characters. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective, allowing readers to understand the motivations and growth of each character throughout the series.
  2. Fight Club: This movie utilizes first-person narration from the unnamed protagonist’s perspective (Edward Norton). The way he views the world, his discontentment with his life, and his interactions with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) are all significant in his character development.

Clear and Consistent Is Key

Your chosen POV significantly impacts your character development. Be it a first-person intimate narration or a broad third-person perspective, both have their own charm and advantages. So, the next time you sketch a character, keep in mind the “POV” tinted glasses your readers would be wearing.