L.J.Martin on point of view
Click on the image to read about L.J. Martin and his books.
After an editor establishes that you've written a novel with good sentence structure and your characters come alive for him, then the next thing the good ones turn their attention to is point of view. More basically good novels are trashed by editors because of inconsistent point of view than for any other technical reason.
Point of view—from whose eyes the story is told—is a determinate of plot. For the sake of simplicity, we'll begin with the first person.
You can't wander away from the direct line-of-sight view or hearing of the storyteller if you write your novel in the first person. That is the "I" point of view.
I made sure my Walker rode free and easy in the holster as the cackler rose from his ladder-back chair.
That's first person.
Ethan hoisted his Walker, making sure it rode free and easy, as the cackler rose from the ladder-back chair.
That's third person.
If the point of view then shifts to the cackler, then to the barmaid across the room, its third person omniscient. The all-seeing eye. It's the third person omniscient P.O.V. that I choose to use in some of my writing, first person in other novels, and a combination in some.
Since I chose omniscient in this example, I could have gone on to begin the next paragraph, or next chapter:
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
You can't do that in first person, you can't go to the ranch in your writing unless you take your first person observer to the ranch. Simple? No, it's not simple for me. I still fight proper P.O.V. every time I write, but at least now when an editor or another writer asks me "What's your point of view?" I don't launch into a political observation or my opinion about the last news story on the tube.
Point of view, as it applies to the craft of writing, is through whose eyes the action is seen.
Before you plot your novel, you must determine in which point of view it is to be written. A first person P.O.V. cannot have flashbacks unless the protagonist (99% of all first person novels are written from the hero's P.O.V.) is the one thinking about the flashback. A first person P.O.V. cannot see or hear something that's happening in the next room, next building, or next town. It limits your plot...or at least your approach to your plot. For that reason, most novels and certainly most westerns and historicals are written in third person omniscient.
Can you change your point of view in a novel? Of course you can and most writers change in not only the novel but in individual scenes. I suggest you don’t change in a given paragraph, in fact I wouldn’t change without changing scenes. But you can go from your hero’s point of view to your heroine and back.
I have read and written successful novels written in both the first person and from other’s point of view. A difficult approach for a beginning writer, and probably difficult for most readers to read and editors to accept.
Now that you've decided to write in a given P.O.V., or given set of multiple P.O.V.’s, you can plot your novel.