Choosing the point-of-view character is a decision each writer must face every time a new scene is started.
This is true unless you chose to tell your story from a first person perspective, where the events are narrated from the point of view of a certain character (and no one else) that will be used as a sort of narrative filter: If he sees, listens to, smells or touches something, the reader will be able to do it as well. If he ignores something, the reader will as well.
In a third person narration, either omniscient or limited, the point-of-view character can be different from scene to scene. You will not want every scene to have a different leading character, however, as this would not provide the reader with a clear view of the events and he would end up being confused: each time you let a character see through other’s eyes, you alienate the reader from the former character’s ideas. The readers will not be able to feel the character’s emotions or experience the world with them and this dilutes and weakens the impact of the events that happen from his point of view.
So, if what you are looking for is to create some distance (to focus more on what happened instead of creating a deep connection with the characters), then consider this kind of point of view. But if, on the contrary, what you want to achieve is intimacy and deepening into the feelings, then limit the number of characters to just a few key ones by following these pieces of advice:
Decide who will lead your story and make sure that every element highlights or emphasizes him. The point-of-view character is the one responsible for lending his eyes, his experience and his story to the reader so he can experience the events as if he were living them himself.
Events in a story are filtered through the character’s senses and are colored by his past, his understanding, his experiences and limitations. Everything there is to a character, what he has done or dreams about doing will influence his presentation and focus. This way, what is important to him will become important to the reader.
The point-of-view character is the, sometimes blind, guide through the scene. This is the reason why this character has the mission not only to reveal what happens in the story but also who plays a part in it.
Remember, it is not imperative for the point-of-view character to tell his own story; think of all the times when the focus is put on the feats of another character that does not have a voice of his own.
Your choice will influence the scenes and the development of the story
A scene told by a female character will be different from a scene told by a male character. A child will tell a different story from a grown up.
Age, gender, experiences, personality, religion, economic means and even the state of mind of a person will affect the story and the scene as far as it is displayed by the point-of-view character.
Consider that when you chose a character you must take into account who he is; this means that the scene will be seen and understood from his perspective, his story or his prejudices and that itself will make it richer or poorer. To make the most of it, our recommendation is to know beforehand the tone in which you want to narrate it and what you want to achieve with it. This will allow you to make a better choice.
-You can keep a constant point-of-view character through the story or alternate between more than one
-Many times the genre of your story can guide you. If you are writing romance you can alternate between the hero and the heroine.
-An unknown, omniscient narrator can go deep in the minds of several characters, providing the readers with an array of points of view.
-You can limit your point-of-view characters to two or three. By limiting the use of third-person you can introduce just a few specific characters to your readers.
-An omniscient narrator can get inside the mind of any character.
-You can have a single point-of-view character in every scene. Just remember that the reader discovers the world hand in hand with this character. He cannot ignore something your character knows.
-If you decide to focus the point of view in a single character, remember to zoom-out the image every now and then to show the big picture. This can be useful at the beginning of a new chapter or during the exposition.
– You can use a deep point-of-view in which, through third-person narration, you achieve the same as the first-person: you immerse yourself in the character and get to know his thoughts and feelings. If you do this, you have the choice to get periodically away from that character to give your readers a break.
Avoid jumping from head to head within the same scene or paragraph no matter the option you chose.
Mix points of view if you feel it is necessary and works for your story but let the reader know somehow that you plan on doing that. There is nothing more confusing that being inside the mind of a character and experience the world from his perspective just to be torn and put inside another one’s mind without previous warning. This motion breaks the sense of fiction and this sense is what allows the reader to keep on reading.