Handling Point of View

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The Writer as Director—or why we watched the movie Hitch

Note: I did the video here for the Wattpad Just Write It: Guide. You may read all the tips by typing that title into the Wattpad search box. As we go along here and if you stick with me, you'll discover that I take a different approach on some of the other topics. One example: I think outlines are a deadly way to start inventive work. Not that they aren't useful down the road as part of the editing process—They are, of course. But I think an outline gets in the way of initial and formative and changing invention.

In this chapter, let's talk about point of view.

Writers connect with their readers in the first sentence they write. We're like directors with a camera. The writer-director tells the cameraman where to look: close-in or far out, where to move.

So with the term of art point of view in craft books, you'll hear first person, third-limited or third person, second person (usually you'll be told never to use this one—but remember all rules are made to be broken!)

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So with the term of art point of view in craft books, you'll hear first person, third-limited or third person, second person (usually you'll be told never to use this one—but remember all rules are made to be broken!).

I like camera as a term of art better than point of view because the camera takes me to the way I see, right to my father's home movies and right smack into that dark theater or favorite book where I can disappear and come out transformed.

In the movie Hitch, the camera, moves right to Will Smith. We're in his head. So let's consider what point of view we're in when we see his first client, Kevin Sussman as Neil, on screen and not with Hitch and longing for the lovely actress he ends up with.

Are we in omniscient or all-knowing point of view? Is the camera-man and director like a god who sees all? Well sure and in many ways in this flick.

Let's assume, for the sake of understanding how this movie is really Hitch's story, that Neil told him about that and that, in a way, we're still inside Hitch's head. I'm doing this here to help you, through the use of a fun film, to understand how the camera works and when and how one point of view dominates—and for good reason.

Let's talk about Albert, the terrific overweight lovable man, played by Kevin James. Albert's story is one central narrative strand of the movie. That means his story is inside Hitch's story. When Albert is in the board room with Allegra, Hitch is not there. He doesn't see or know what happened until Albert returns.

So the camera went where Hitch could not, right? And that means it knew more than Hitch could know.

Point of view is best seen as a continuum from knowing everything like a god, to knowing only what one character could know, or could be told or what the narrator could know about his character all the way to the other end of the continuum where the camera knows only what the main character knows or is thinking.

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