Point of view



Here's a big question for you: Who knows what about the world?

You know some stuff about the world. Your friends and family know some stuff. There are people on the news who apparently know stuff.

Nobody knows everything, but everyone knows something.

Now let's apply that to stories.

In any story, there are three categories of people who can know information about the world of the story:

  • Characters in the story
  • The narrator
  • The audience

In any story, these three entities can know different things.

(Actually, there's also a fourth entity—the author—who may or may not be the narrator, but let's not overcomplicate an already complicated situation.)

graphic showing audience, narrator, and characters (an elf and a dwarf). And also the author.

This underpins an important concept in narrative called point of view.

You might have encountered point of view when people talk about 'first person' or 'third person'. These terms refer to what we call grammatical point of view, but there's a lot more to point of view than whether you use 'I' or 'he/she/they' in a story.

In this lesson, we're going to use point of view as a way to describe possible relationships between narrator, characters, and audience.

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