Point of view basically has two different aspects: a global aspect and a line-by-line aspect.
Global aspect of POV
When we talk about POV, we're really talking about WHO is telling the story. I realize that not every story is told from a specific POV, in that some stories are all over the place with several different people being the main character at any given point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, except that it can get confusing for both writer and reader (think Pulp Fiction). A more usual, and cleaner, way of telling a story is to pick somebody to tell it. For instance, is there any doubt that Scarlett is the POV character in Gone with the Wind? In fact, I watched a documentary on the filming of GWTW where the comment was made that Vivian Leigh was in almost every scene of the movie. There was no movie/story without Scarlett. Another example is The Wizard of Oz. The story is told specifically and completely through Dorothy's eyes. We only know about the other chararcters in the book/movie through Dorothy's impressions of them.
So, this is why picking the POV character is so important. Does this sound familiar? I could also have said, "This is why picking the PROTAGONIST is so important." The POV character SHOULD be your protagonist. Otherwise, he/she is probably just a narrator.
Narrators do work too - have you seen Ladyhawke yet? In Ladyhawke, the POV character is NOT either Isabeau or Navarre, the two characters who are living through a tragedy, it is instead Phillipe the Rat, a young man who has his own character arc that he goes through. At the beginning of the story, he is selfish (understandably, considering the life he's lived) and has no intention of helping anyone. But, by watching the great love and willingness to self-sacrifice that Isabeau and Navarre and even the old priest, Imperius, exhibit, Phillipe learns that his old ways no longer suit him. Almost everybody involved is an antagonist to Phillipe's quest - either they show him how life SHOULD be lived, or they show him how it SHOULDN'T. Does that make sense? It's a great movie, if you get a chance to watch it.
So, I suggest that your protagonist should be your POV character. This way, you can create a story through that person's eyes. Otherwise, why would the reader care?
When I say line-by-line, I mean that, once a writer picks a POV character, whether for an entire book, a chapter or an individual scene, everything should be seen through that character's eyes. I'll go into different layers of this type of POV - omniscient, first person, third person, limited, deep, etc - in class next week, but the main idea is, once you pick the type of POV, you should stay with it or give an indication to the reader that you're planning on changing it. One of the most problematic beginning writer mistakes is not staying true to POV. An example is that Mary is reading a book and, "Little does she know that Bruce is sneaking up behind her with a water balloon." If we are in Mary's POV, how can she (and we) know that something is somewhere she can't see? We as the readers have to sense everything the exact same way that Mary would, or we're in someone (or something) else's POV.
I've included several URL's with articles below that explain this - and I'll talk about it during class.
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