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Good Writing Is ...#8 Point of view -- the five big questions writers need to answer

Updated on December 2, 2011

Before we get started

Welcome to the eighth hub in our series on writing techniques.

Thank you for your support and encouragement

First I’d like to thank everyone for the tremendous support and interest you’ve shown in these articles, (far more than I’d imagined possible in the beginning) and to say how much your encouraging comments are appreciated. I find it satisfying to know my efforts have been of help to some of you and I will endeavor to continue doing the research and homework required to ensure I’m giving you the best information I can put together. After all, if we’re here on hubpages it’s because we are all writers and hoping to further evolve in our skills. By sharing our knowledge, we all benefit. Thank you, one and all.

Information for those who've requested I review and critique their hubs (or other projects)

One more aside before we move into today’s discussion, and this relates to the requests I review your work. I’ve mentioned this before, but obviously, it’s time to repeat the message. I will gladly review some of your work, but I will not do so publicly, and not on hubpages. If you have a story or article you’d like me to critique and edit for you (and I will do one edit no charge for any writer) please, use the link to the upper right here which will take you to my website. Once on my site, review the editing services page and then use the ‘contact me’ page. Use the email link marked ‘contact me’, follow the instructions and send me the text you want reviewed embedded in your email (not attached.) My editing work goes to a different email address than the one linked in my contact here on my hubpages profile. Thanks.

What do we mean when we use the term point of view?

The first thing to do is set aside the common use of the phrase as synonymous with opinion. It is certain that your personal point of view on life will leach into your writing, but that is not the definition we’re after here.

When we use this term relative to writing, we are speaking of the most complex element of fiction. In basic form, we refer to the relationship among writer, characters and reader. What is the vantage point given to the reader to “see” what is happening? Who is standing where to watch the scene?

The chart below shows us the five major questions that must be answered to determine the point of view of our story. Each of these issues are carefully answered by the author (sometimes unconsciously) to convince us to share the same perspective. We’re going to look at them one at a time.

(This is likely to be a longer than normal hub. Go get yourself a beverage and make yourself comfortable.)

The five big questions that make up point of view

Question One -- Who speaks?

The first question that must be decided before a single word hits paper or screen is person. You have three choices, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

First person narrative (I, me, us)

My turn to speak – my knees turned to water; my hands became sloppy, slick, clumsy appendages and my heart rattled a beat more appropriate to a squirrel. Somehow, I found my way to the podium, sorted my papers, and cleared my throat.

The ‘I, me, mine, us’ narrator speaks from first-hand knowledge and direct description of the events and usually takes the voice of the hero or the companion of the hero (such as Dr. Watson of the Sherlock Holmes stories who narrates Mr. Holmes adventures.) This is the central narrator. Conversely, the first person narrator may be only a simple observer, a minor character or even someone who plays no active role in the events. A good example of this is found in the major plot of Fried Green Tomatoes, where it is a character from the minor plot – an old woman in a nursing home, who played no part in the events but narrates the tale. This is the peripheral narrator.

Advantages of this point of view

  • It is a natural voice to most storytellers, as we live “I, me” lives. This is how we instinctively tell our tales in speech.
  • It creates a sense of intimacy with the narrator, as we share the described life experiences.
  • It develops an easier sense of reliability allowing the reader to suspend reality and accept the first hand testimony of someone who was there, who saw, and who experienced.
  • The writer only has to deal with one mind – the narrator’s. (Forgetting this is a common fault in new writers – one never knows what is in another’s mind, we can only guess and usually guess wrong.)
  • The writer can create a unique, distinctive internal voice, where we view the world and the people in it from one particular person’s perceptions and thoughts.
  • The first person narrator may be turn out to be unreliable (a liar,) or biased, or mentally unbalanced – adding a twist of craft to the writing. (However, if the narrator is any of these things, the reader must be “in” on the secret. It is cheating to tell a story and only at the end admit it was all a lie and as trite and unsatisfying as the “I woke up and it had all been a dream” ending.)

Disadvantages of this point of view

  • You can only write what the narrator can see, hear, smell, feel, taste or think.
  • The narrator must be constantly on stage or observing the stage.
  • You can’t go into the minds of other characters.

Second person narrative -- (you – the reader as a character)

Your turn to speak – your knees turn to water; your hands become sloppy, slick, clumsy appendages and your heart rattles a beat more appropriate to a squirrel. Somehow, you find your way to the podium, sort your papers, and clear your throat.

-- Rarely successful, and then only in shorter works. Considered idiosyncratic and experimental, most publishing people advise against using this point of view. There have been exceptions – for example, Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City.

You’ll note that even in this short example, the tense changed from past to present. Somehow, and for some reason (which I can’t explain) the second person narrative doesn’t work well in the past tense. How do you tell a reader, using the reader as the protagonist what he is doing and put it in the past. If it was in the past, the reader would already know it. (???) Meta-physics are not my forte.

Some writers have used second person narrative for portions of a story. This method is used successfully when an omniscient third person narrator directly addresses a character. And a good example of this use can be found in Tom Robbin’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues:

You hitchhike. Timidly at first, barely flashing your fist, leaning almost imperceptibly in the direction of your imaginary destination. A squirrel runs along a tree limb. You hitchhiked the squirrel. A blue jay flies by. You flag it down.

Here we find an affectionate, accepting relationship between the third person narrator and the main character, Sissy Hankshaw. This use is artful, original and damn difficult to pull off. Be wary.

Advantages of this point of view

  • You could be different, even eccentric in this informal manner of speaking to the reader.

Disadvantages of this point of view

  • It feels weird, presumptuous and quirky, whether reading or writing it.

Third person point of view (he, she, they)

His turn to speak – his knees turned to water; his hands became sloppy, slick, clumsy appendages and his heart rattled a beat more appropriate to a squirrel. Somehow, he found his way to the podium, sorted his papers, and cleared his throat.

The third person narrative appears more often than any other, and offers a variety of possibilities for limiting omniscience, or increasing it, more avenues of providing information both narrator and reader are privy to in the telling of the story. The third person narrator is subdivided into two general categories:

Unlimited omniscience

The author enters the mind of any character. He transports readers to any setting or action he likes. He is God-like in knowledge, seeing into every character’s soul and eventual fate. You may remember Dick and Jane from our discussions in plotting.

Dick stood stiffly at the door, unsure of how to proceed. Would Jane forgive him? Was it possible to put the past year behind him? What is she doing, he wondered as she moved slowly toward him.

She was going to kiss him. She would start things off. She would give him a kiss to knock his socks off. He’d soon forget and regret all he’d done. Let him see what he’d missed. Yes, she decided, she’d teach him a lesson.

He gasped for air as her mouth left his, and only just stopped himself from falling. Jeeze, where did she learn to do that?

She triumphed in her success.

Here we see into the minds of both characters.

Advantages of the unlimited omniscient point of view

  • Using all points of view allows more chances to enrich your writing with contrasting characters allowing the reader to identify with each in turn.
  • The horizons of your story widen, as you move from separated and diverse characters and events, changing viewpoint characters.

Disadvantage of the unlimited omniscient point of view

  • Both author and reader can be confused unless every voice and point of view is distinctive and unique.
  • The flow of action, the impact and power, the reader’s ability to relate may be diffused by switching to too many points of view. When we read the above example, the last two paragraphs are jarring, as we abruptly switch from one to another. (By the way, a common error I see in new writers, is forgetting that every change in POV requires a new paragraph.)
  • It becomes too easy to drift into narrating as the author (the author’s voice has no place in his work – remember?) instead of letting the characters do the job. (Remember, the all knowing third party omniscient author/narrator is considered very passé, and unpopular.)

Limited omniscience

The author enters the mind of a limited number of characters and views the action from a limited viewpoint. Here’s our example written from the limited viewpoint of the character, Dick.

What now? He stood stiffly in the doorway, unsure and nervous. Would she forgive him, and put the past year behind her? What was she doing? Then, he saw the determination and something else, something mischievous in her face. He watched her mouth curl into a circle. She was going to kiss him.

She did, and left him gasping for air and reeling on his feet. Jeeze, where did she learn to do that?

Advantages of limited omniscient point of view

  • All the advantage of the unlimited (save for the sweeping scope) and …
  • The writer can concentrate and tighten the narrative by keeping to major characters thoughts.

Disadvantages of the limited omniscient point of view

  • Can’t think of any. By imposing a certain amount of discipline on your points of view, you evade the disadvantages listed above in the unlimited viewpoint.

You, the writer, are free to decide how much you know, or want to present. You may know every universal and eternal truth (right!), or only what is in the mind of one character, or only what can be externally observed leaving internal thoughts to be expressed as dialogue. Whatever your choices, you must be consistent and signal very early on to your reader which point of view you’ve chosen.

Once you’ve established your point of view, consider this signaling a ‘contract’ with the reader, one that cannot be broken – at least not gracefully.

Whoever our narrator – we still have another two choices:

The neutral narrator

Is your narrator above opinions? Balanced? Not using editorially charged words? This kind of narrator has no vested interest in any one character, does not gush over the good guys or condemn the villain. The neutral narrator does not sneak the author’s opinions into the point of view, but just moves the reader along, transporting from one scene to the next – where the characters do the work.

The neutral narrator is only a reporter.

The judgmental narrator

The judgmental narrator opens up the flood gates for endless possibilities for telling a story artfully, just by the choice of words. A good example of this form is Jane Austen, who acerbically poked fun at the foibles of her neighbors and times. Often the opinionated narrator uses the first person point of view of one of her characters and develops an air of personal intimacy.

One of the great tools of this approach is once the reader is aware of the tone of the narrator, he understands the voice is not entirely reliable and becomes free to share, identify or disagree.

Again, once this choice is made, it must be consistent. Switching from the gossipy, opinionated, judgmental voice to that of the neutral omniscient mid-stream won’t work.The reader no longer has the confidence in the narrator to accept the all-knowing, entirely truthful voice.

Question Two -- To Whom?

When we establish our point of view, the author implies an identity not only for the narrator but for the audience as well.

The Reader

Most fiction is addressed to the reader – literary convention. When we first crack the covers of a new book, it is with the tacit understanding that we, too, have a role to play in the tale. When we open David Copperfield and read that most wonderful opening line: I am born, (so simple, so succinct it is brilliant) we don’t demand, “Why are you telling me this?” We know. We are the recipient of the tale.

But from the writer’s perspective, is “the reader” a universal audience or a specific one? Do we work on the assumption that anyone can be brought around to identify with our story, to share the author’s understanding? If we are penning for Harlequin romance, we have a pretty sound idea of who our audience is, and they have been well trained to expect certain formulaic elements of the story. (Indeed, if one finishes or not, one knows the end.) If we write what we hope is literature, then we expect our audience to be literate (which leaves out half the world) and use the appropriate tone.

No matter what we write, and from which point of view, the most common assumption is the reader is desirous of being persuaded into sharing our tale, and the telling of the story is its own justification.

Sometimes, the author may assign certain traits to the reader, a common practice in 19th century writing with direct addresses: ‘You, gentle reader’ or the flattering ‘To a mind such as yours, this may seem …’

Thankfully, we’ve relegated such artifices to the study of times past and these appeals are not normally found in modern writing.

In usual practice, the narrator addresses the reader, and the reader accepts the role of audience.

Another Character

We may choose to tell the story to another character (example: The Man Who Would be King in which the surviving friend of the adventure tells the story to Rudyard Kipling.)

In the epistolary novel, the narrative consists entirely of correspondence written by one character to another. That character may be an intimate, or a stranger, or an authority (newspaper,) a deceased person, or God. A good example is The Color Purple by Alice Walker, in which we read appeals from a girl to God.

In the monologue treatment, the entire work consists of a communication from one character to an unknown other. I’ve just finished reading Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles, which is a novel length letter of complaint to the airlines in which the author tells much of his life story.

In these cases, the reader becomes an eavesdropper. The reader is no longer an ‘active’ participant in the speaker/listener contract.

The Self

An effective method of addressing the self is the diary or journal setting up an atmosphere of great intimacy as the writings are clearly not intended for public view, and the reader is let in on the confidential secret.

An excellent example of this form is The Diary of a Madman by Nikolai Gogol. In my novel This Bird Flew Away, I fluctuate between first person narrative, and the use of a girl’s journal to tell the story.

The possibilities are endless, bounded only by the writer’s imagination – providing the point of view and voice are consistent. One may use direct exchange to the reader and address to another character and addresses to the self all in the same work so long as the voice, the character and point of view remain steady and the forms of address do not contradict.

Question Three -- In what form?

The form of the story can be specified as part of the total point of view, as the relationship we want to build between the teller of a tale and the receiver often implies automatically which will serve best. We choose from the general narrated story, interior monologue, reportage, confessional, oratory, journal or diary, a series of written communications or a stream of consciousness.

Form is important to the point of view because it directly affects the level of self-consciousness of the teller, and therefore the degree of honesty we can expect. The written word requires more forethought and planning than the spoken word and less spontaneity, so it is safe to assume that a letter to father written by our heroine is unlikely to be as truthful and open as the spoken communication with her friends. Conversely, an entry in a diary, secretive and private in nature is likely to prove a more reliable voice than dialogue with another character.

This understanding affects the acceptance by the reader. Often, through combination of forms – a dialogue saying one thing, contradicted by internal thoughts saying another, we develop complexities that will alter the total point of view.

And most of the time, we don’t do these things through planning or conscious thought. They grow as we write, listening to the voices in our minds. Did I think of these things while switching from my heroine, Bria’s first person narration of events, to a stream of consciousness at a climactic moment, to the written words of her journal? No. I acted on instinct, on what seemed right. It wasn’t until after all was written that I realized the tools I had used.

I suppose what I am trying to say, is don’t analyze to death in your writing. Write, as seems to fit, but during the editing, rewriting process bring your awareness of these tools to the forefront. They may help you understand why a passage doesn’t feel right, doesn’t work, or why something unintended comes off as brilliant.

Question Four – At what distance?

Authorial distance (in some textbooks the subject is called psychic distance) refers to the degree in which readers feel intimacy and identification with our characters, or detached from them. Several elements already discussed in these articles impact the reader’s feelings and alienate his acceptance, such as use of passive language; offering trite, unnatural spoken dialogue (very important) or no interior thought;, shallow depictions or two dimensional characterization – well, actually everything we’ve covered so far.

Unless the reader can suspend reality and enter the realm of the story, he will remain so distant he may well decide he doesn’t care, and lay the story aside.

We are not discussing that kind of distance, which is simply a nice way of saying failure.

Spatial and temporal distance

Our tale may require distance in time and space – or both. When we use the classic opening of “Long ago and far away,” we transport the reader by our tone which we know means the events we are about to relate took place in the past, and far from our sense of reality. Whatever is to come will end; we know this because it already has. We are distanced from the story by its very beginning.

As always, the use of an example will explain far more than any long winded explanation. I am borrowing this example from Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway.

That spring, when I had a great deal of potential and no money at all, I took a job as a janitor. That was when I was still very young and spent money very freely, and when, almost every night, I drifted off to sleep lulled by sweet anticipation of that time when my potential would suddenly be realized and there would be capsule biographies of my life on the dust jackets of many books. – James Alan McPherson, ‘Gold Coast’

The author looks back through the distance of time and adopts a mocking tone towards his younger self, and now from the present of maturity, invites the reader to do the same. We know he no longer indulges in such fantasies and for the duration of the story, neither do we. His distancing technique stance sets a point of view, and we join him, so our distance is not just time but attitude.

Intangible distance

The use of attitude can be a strong distancing tool. For example, when we say, “There was a severe outbreak of diphtheria in the coastal town,” we are detached from the tragedy. This straightforward reporter style of writing does that – the facts, just the facts ma’am. But if we were to write, “He tilted her head to the light, pried open her mouth and found, as he expected, the grayish membrane from the roof of her mouth, traveling toward her nose.” Now we are not detached. We are not distant from the diphtheria outbreak.

Another method to attempt to reduce distance is the use of the present tense. The effort is to give the past the immediacy of the present, and may effectively do so, but is often abused. The present tense is difficult to maintain in the long haul, and a common mistake I find in new writers is “tense travelling,” often in the same sentence. If using the present tense, once established, it must be maintained, and this is where newbies fall short.

Again, an example:

Dick got home about five o’clock in the morning and fixed himself a peanut butter sandwich. He eats it over the sink, washing it down with half a carton of chocolate milk. He left the carton on the counter and stumbles up to bed.

How many changes in tense do you count? I count five, two in the last sentence.

Lately, present tense novels have become increasingly popular. Jodi Picoult’s latest, House Rules, is written in the present tense, but even for an author of sixteen previous novels, it is apparent in several instance she “tense wobbles.” Audrey Nifennegger wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife in the present tense, but considering the subject matter it is perhaps just as well, or the work would have been totally unintelligible.

Still, despite this sudden trend to the present tense, be aware it is a difficult trick to do so correctly. Also, I don’t know about the rest of the reading world, but I find it obtrusive for some reason. How can thirty years of story all be in the present? But I digress. This is not about my perceptions, but about the fact tense mixing is one of the biggest problems I find in inexperienced writers attempting to use the technique. When it is successful, yes – it does bring about that “in the moment” feel.

The writer must decide what distance he chooses to adopt from the reader, but make it a deliberate choice, not one of accident. Again, once those decisions are made, be consistent.

Question Five – With what limitations?

Most of the time, when we read a story we trust the narrator. We share, at least for the length of time it takes to read the work, the attitude and beliefs of the narrators who present the characters.

But sometimes, it is possible, even planned and expected you will mistrust the narrator. When we ask, "Who speaks?",and the answer is a child, an animal, a schizophrenic, an alien alone on planet Earth, or a jealous husband, an immoral swindler – the implications are the narrator speaks with limitations we don’t necessarily share.

To the extent such limitations are known, she or he is an unreliable narrator, and the author without using direct words must let the reader know certain elements of the story – the point of view – is not to be entirely trusted.

In my novel, This Bird Flew Away, the opening scene is narrated by a nine-year-old girl, and while she is an honest, open and candid child, her take on the world is limited by her experience, lack of intellectual maturity and education. It is understood the reader will consider these limitations and the speaker – a child – and see beyond her youthful view of life.

In other words, her story is not to be trusted as being complete.

Again, I’ll borrow from Writing Fiction and use an example I enjoy.

I have always, always, tried to do right and help people. It a part of my community duty and my duty to God. But I can tell you right now, you don’t never get no thanks for it! …

Use to be a big ole fat sloppy woman live cross the street went to my church. She had a different man in her house wither every month! Now, I’m doin my duty and she got mad! I told her somebody had to be the pillar of the community and if it had to be me, so be it! She said I was the pill of the community and a lotta other things, but I told the minister that too and pretty soon she was movin away.

Good! I like a clean community! – J. California Cooper, ‘The Watcher’

We distrust every judgment the woman spouts, (don’t like her much either) but we are also aware of the author using a carefully chosen tone to expose her – and the author we do trust. This passage is riddled with ironies, but because the narrator is unaware of them, they turn on herself. We get a clear picture of the narrator, her use of Biblical language while we suspect even the minister dislikes her, the overuse of the exclamation point drives home her overbearing intensity and self-righteousness. We suspect we’d possibly like the big ole sloppy woman from across the street and hold no doubts as to why she moved away.

This unreliable narrator is no accident, but a carefully chosen and well crafted decision.

In closing

Well, we’re approaching four thousand words here. I did warn you this would be a longer than average hub, but to do justice to the subject matter economy of words is unimportant. There are so many elements to point of view that are overlooked, as most discussion zero in on the question of person and tense – certainly important, but not the entire picture.

I hope this article is of help to those of you struggling to find that authenticity of voice and approach in your writing. Yes, there is much to keep in mind.

The amazing thing is this complex subject – point of view – doesn’t confuse us at all. It is something we sense, we feel as we work through our words. We do and approach these factors without thinking about it, much the same way we balance ourselves precariously on a bicycle without understanding how.

But when we are striving for a certain effect, or when we sense something isn’t working, doesn’t feel right in our writing, then is when we need to understand all these elements.

To all of you, I wish you good writing and a positive point of view.



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    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 4 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Very helpful hub with much depth. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Marcia 2 years ago

      Very helpful artcles, I love them! I've always enjoyed writing a lot, but it didn't worked pretty well, until I hit your Hubs :D

      Now I enjoy it again and even started to listen to calming music videos like this while writing^^

      I used to do it a few years ago, but then stopped writing at all (job, family, etc...)

      Now I'm excited to start again, thanks to you! :)

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great Reading Picked up a lot of useful information. Thank you

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi rjsadowski Always glad to be of help. I hope you check out the others in the writing series. Thanks for commenting and nice to meet you. Lynda

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 6 years ago

      I just happened to stumble upon your hub. It made me think. I recently started writing again and I hope that reading your hubs will help me to refine my style.

    • sammyfiction profile image

      Sammy 6 years ago from Australia

      Yes, I did notice that you have quite a few up, let's just say that I I glad to have stumbled upon your hubs. :)

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks. AS there are eight other hubs on writing posted here, I will not worry about pressure for a while. Nice to meet you. Lynda

    • sammyfiction profile image

      Sammy 6 years ago from Australia

      Hey and Hi, just read your hub, :) I have been searching for a comprehensive definition on POV as I am currently experimenting what works for me, and you have summed it up very acutely. This is a great tool to loook at and I look forward to viewing more of your hubs for some great pressure or anything :)


    • jg555 profile image

      jg555 7 years ago from New York

      That was the beginning of the story. I plan on writing more but I didn't want too long of a story on one hub. I thought maybe people would be more likely to read it if its not too long. As far as it not being edited perfect, i did reread it a few times and make changes but i wanted to put at least one story, or part of a story out there to see what people think. In the future i'll probably wait till it's exactly how i want it. Your posting and comments were very helpful though, thankyou.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks jg555. I hope you found this and the other articles in this series on writing useful. One question: I'm interested in knowing why you have posted an unfinished story. I don't let my work out into the light of day until I know it's as polished as I can make it -- at that time, whether a short story or an excerpt from a novel. I recently got involved in a debate with another budding writer about this very subject -- sending out work for critique before it is ready, and being upset with the results. What did you want from this posting? Were you happy with the results? Thanks. Lynda

    • jg555 profile image

      jg555 7 years ago from New York

      Point of view is definitely important. I recently wrote a story and haven't been getting a lot views yet. Still writing more of it so its not done but anyone want to check it out, feel free.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Steele Fields. Recently finished novel? Interesting. I hope you watch my hubs, for soon I will be writing an article about my thoughts for a new solution for new writers -- a way to circumvent the existing dead end for most of the unknowns.

      Unfortunately, I am up to my ears in another major project as well as leading a writing workshop on line, so I have little time for hubs and comments. I will make time soon -- I will, I will, I will.

      When I do, you are one of the people I will try and contact.

    • Steele Fields profile image

      susan beck 7 years ago from drexel hill,pa

      Thank you for posting such a well-written and informative article. You obviously know your stuff. During the lengthy writing stage of my recently-finished novel, I read countless books on the art and the craft of creative writing and your article stands up to the best of them. I am now your official fan.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks seandundon -- for those wanting information on essays, your link will be helpful and I'll leave it here. Here, we are discussing writing in general, fiction most all and the novel in particular.

    • profile image

      seandundon 8 years ago

      Hey, great article! There is another, Let Your Voice Be Heard in Essays ( that touches on this subject, but focuses on essays.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you mquee and I hope you find the series helpful. Bear in mind, this isn't the end and there is more to come.

    • mquee profile image

      mquee 8 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Seems like I started at the end. I will read the others, I am always looking to improve my writing skills. Vey good info.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you so much Petra. Your comments on the helpfulness of my articles means a lot coming from someone as talented as you.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you Linda; you are a true master and your willingness to share valuable information and help others is the best gift any writer can hope for. I particularly like the way you illustrate your teaching with concrete examples that makes everything so much clearer and easier to understand and follow.

      Every single one of the writing hubs you have offered us should be bookmarked by those serious about improving their writing skills

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks Lavella -- hope you check out the rest of the series. The writing of them helped me out, too.

      Thank you saket71.

      Thanks tweetter -- glad you find it helpful.

    • tweetter profile image

      tweetter 8 years ago

      Very very informative hub, your articles will boost my way of writing. Thanx alot :-)

    • saket71 profile image

      saket71 8 years ago from Delhi, India

      simply great, blessed to have read this hub.

    • LavellaVision profile image

      LavellaVision 8 years ago from Delaware

      I love this hub. It's very informative. It will really helps me spice up my writing, to avoid reader boredom. We want people to WANT to read our stuff. Thank you for helping us do that.

      Have a wonderful day,


    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks Itakins. Glad you could drop by and leave a comment. Don't take too long a break. I for one look forward to your articles.

      Thanks mmcooney.

    • profile image

      mmcooney 8 years ago

      good hub

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl

      The reat thing about taking a break from writing is one has more time to read excellent hubs like this.

      I'll miss Tammy:)

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I'll miss you Tammy. Don't stay away too long. Lynda

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 8 years ago

      Thanks for another valuable lesson. I am hoping it's sinkning in for me. I am just making a quick run through of my favorite authors...Life will be taking me away from writing on HP for a while...I will stop in to read once in a while...Thanks for all the encouragement you have shown me...Tammy

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      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you so much JannyC. I've tried to put things as clearly as I could. It's been a great review and learning process for me preparing these, and I've enjoyed every second of it. Lynda

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 8 years ago

      Been reading a through the series just wanted to pop back in and say you put all the other stuff I have read on writing to shame. You convey this in such a clear light. Bless you!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Bless you Duchess. Knowing these articles are helping others (as they are helping me as I sort through what I know, and research the experts to write them.) It's true we tend to write this way through instinct, but knowing why is certainly helpful. Lynda

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      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Lynda, I was looking forward to the next installment because with each one you have written in the series, I have been able to improve my own work so much. At least I think I have!

      Thank you once again for another quality hub. I have had to bookmark them all because with only one reading it just doesn't sink in!

      Thanks to you sharing what you know, I now have a plan. Planning is good. :)

      I am not disappointed. You have provided me with more work to do on my novel - but bless you - that's a great thing!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Great Trish, hope you find it useful.

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 8 years ago from The English Midlands

      I have bookmarked this :)

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks Story Plot, hope you found it helpful.

    • profile image

      Story Plot 8 years ago

      An excellent Hub and some good and important writing advice on offer. Well done, and thanks for sharing.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Deborah. Your kind opinion is very much appreciated. Lynda

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Lynda, your series is quite informative and most useful for this newbie writer. The point of view is hard to get right, as it sets the tone for the entire piece. Thanks for another in a great litany of work. I appreciate the time and energy you obviously put into each hub.


    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, Linda, just to say that I read your reply and I am glod to hear it. Wish you well and speedy recovery.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Kendall -- you're very welcome. Yes, I've loved Kipling since my childhood, and the Man Who Would Be King is my hands down favorite. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Hi Quilligrapher, and thanks for the comment. Am basking in the glow of your praise.

    • Quilligrapher profile image

      Quilligrapher 8 years ago from New York

      Lynda, like Caesar, “veni, vidi.” That is so easy to do. But, you are an inspiration to those of us working to master the “vici” part. Thank you for lighting our way.


    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      Thank you Lynda for your wise advice as always. I read The Man Who Would Be King a few months ago and loved it. Kipling had such a way with words and point of view. It was a wonderful example! I eagerly look forward to your next hub!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you parrster for your comment and quiet praise. Very much appreciated. I'd love to hear more of your novel if you'd like to contact me by email. Love connecting to other novelists and their "written" worlds. Lynda

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 8 years ago from Australia

      Again, thanks Lynda. My lastest novel, Truth to tell, is my first venture into writing from first person. The hero is in a constant state of reflection while living the present, and, as you have emphasised, it is a challenge to maintain a sense of logical continuum for the reader as he flits between past and present. Thank you for this hub, a lot to absorb but worth re-reading. I have bookmarked.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hello Blackmarx -- yes, go to the hubs on plotting, linked above #'s 5 & 6 and prepare a road map of your plot. Review the article on characters #3 and work up your characters. When you have those two things, you can contact me through my website -- link above and I'll do my best to get your feet moving in the right direction. Lynda

    • blackmarx profile image

      blackmarx 8 years ago from Rice Lake, WI


    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Glad you find it helpful, Rafini and thanks for the comment. Lynda

    • Rafini profile image

      Rafini 8 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Wow, another one packed full of useful information - and again I'm going to bookmark this hub. :)

      Thanks for being so willing to share your knowledge and explain in such great detail what it is you are sharing.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Gus, thanks for the compliment, but I'll bet you do all of these things without knowing it. These are the inborn qualities of 'natural' talent and knowledge of how it works only helps us further improve or understand when we go wrong. Cheers, thanks and don't worry that old rock about things. Lynda

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 8 years ago from USA

      Howdy Lynda - Good stuff here. If I had any sense, I'd follow "the rules." Even so, it is great good fun and rewarding to read such logical stuff and to comprehend its value to a writer, but these old fingers feel their way around this creaky keyboard much as they want to. Maybe I should ask my wife to clop me over the head and wake me up? Naaa - you cannot jolt sense into or out of something so locked within that which long ago became a perfect rock.

      Gus ;-O

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Itakins. It's not a simple subject. Hope you're well today (better than yesterday.) Talk to you soon. Lynda

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl


      There really is invaluable information here-certainly not an absorb it all at one sitting hub-Brilliant.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Quill and I hope these articles are of help.

      Thanks hello, hello -- I will have a quiet Easter holiday, that much is sure. I am improving, but still have a long way to go. Thanks for your wishes.

      You're welcome Mordechai. Hope it's useful.

    • MordechaiZoltan profile image

      MordechaiZoltan 8 years ago

      Thanks for all the information!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Hello, Lynda, and thank you for so much help you have put into your hub. Goodness, you are so kind. I wil keep on file because I have to go back to it again. It is so much to learn. Thank you again and have a lovely Easter Holiday. I hope you have recovered. Wish you well.

    • profile image

      "Quill" 8 years ago

      Thanks for the informative HUb and I can see where I will be going back in review of all the others you have written.

      Alberta Blessings

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I completely understand. Life happens. Whenever you're ready.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      Oh I have taken your advice very seriously but life is sooo chaotic. I have no idea how my quiet life turned upside down so extremely. I am happy if I can take time to post a few words here at HP and self-edit some work turning them into hubs. But yeah, I totally want to make her-Sam- a little more national! Thanks!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      You're welcome Ann and thank you. My but we're polite. I hope you took note of the way to send me more of Sam-I-Am when you're ready to get to serious work on her. Thanks so much for coming by and leaving such a nice comment. Aw shucks.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 8 years ago from Virginia

      Wow! What a hub, Lynda! There is a lot of valuable information here! Thanks for helping me, a mere hubber, along the way! I have learned much from this one...all of them actually, and always wonder why am I surprised at your brilliance! Thanks and WELL DONE!!!!


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