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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Twenty-Four

Choosing the Best POV for Your Story

How to Focus the Lens of Your Narrative

Nancy Kress

Because we lack telepathy, we are imprisoned in our own skulls. As Joseph Conrad wrote, “We live, as we dream, alone”—at least within our heads. The only thoughts, plans, dreams, and feelings we can directly experience are our own. It’s because this one-viewpoint reality is hardwired in us that fiction is so fascinating. It lets us experience the world from inside someone else’s head.

This is the definition of point of view: whose eyes we view the action through, whose head we’re inside of, whose feelings we experience as that character feels them. As such, your choice of point-of-view character or characters is critical to your story. ...

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