Decades ago, scholar Wayne Booth wrote: “If we think through the many narrative devices in the fiction we know, we soon come to a sense of the embarrassing inadequacy of our traditional classification of ‘point of view’ into three or four kinds, variables only of the ‘person’ and the degree of omniscience.”
After struggling with confusing, contradictory, and uselessly vague explanations of point of view, I developed a new, richer approach. Rather than simply first, second, and third, and the confusing concepts of omniscience and limited omniscience, this approach to point of view explores a diverse variety of attributes that actually make up a novel’s point of view, but which are rarely directly addressed.
By exploring such attributes as influence, location, knowledge, presence, reliability, engagement, and much more, writers gain a far greater control over their craft. This allows them to develop more complex and powerful work, as well as exposing a wider range of possibilities than most writers are even aware exist. This expanded awareness also makes it easier for writers to develop their novel’s point of view consistently, which limits the need for extensive revision.