Point of view: you are a camera

You can only describe what the camera sees.

For this point of view, pretend you are a movie camera. You can only write what a camera would see/film (although you can use the five senses).  No going into any character’s thoughts and emotions. Everything must be shown externally in some way. There is an Ernest Hemingway story, Hills Like White Elephants, that is a good example of this POV. This is our example:

George tipped his wine onto the white tablecloth. The red stain spread quickly, unlike blood. Jane had already run to the kitchen for a cloth, but Phillip leaned back in his chair, a sneer on his face. “That wasn’t very clever of you, George,” he said.

George clenched his hands but kept a polite smile on his face and helped Jane mop up the wine.

Jane glanced at the two men, her mouth trembling a little.

Advantages – are there any? This POV is useful for screenwriters, and also for you to practice if you struggle with how to show emotions and reactions without saying “she felt”. It can create a coldness in the story that can be fun to play with.

Disadvantages – that distance I mentioned. This is not the POV you want for a story where you are trying to connect the reader to the characters.

Challenges – showing everything! No convenient character thought to explain behavior.

Writing pointer: a great POV to try out as a test of your skills, or to deliberately create a Hemingway-type story.
(Pic from Dreamstime.com)

Did you find this article useful?
Share with others
Get free writers' newsletter

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.