Which Point Of View Is Best When Writing A Story

Writing is easy, but writing well is not. There are five or more stories in my head at any given moment, yet most of them do not make it onto paper. Why? Because I can’t live in front of my lap top 24/7 and do what I love to do the most all of the time.

That’s life.

I am currently in the beginning stages of rewriting the first novel I published, Forbidden. I love the story line, and I want to do it justice by correcting the mistakes I made. The characters are unique and draw you into their lives in a mesmerizing sort of way.

Anyway, back to the rewrite.

I can’t decide which point of view I want to use and thought I would ask your opinion. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know what you think. Or you can contact me via email.

Below is a preview of the original. Note, that it is not my best work, but my first work. The original was written in 1st person POV from multiple characters. I wanted the reader to be able to fall in love with each of them as individuals.

A Preview Of The Original Work

Thoughts About The First Rewrite

As I started to rewrite the events of the first few chapters, I thought about what I have learned over the years as a writer. Having too many characters, each with a different point of view tends to turn readers away. Although I love my characters and I want others to get to know them, I understand how too many can turn people off.

So, I thought about rewriting using an omniscient point of view. Also I changed/added to make the story flow smoother and have less of a “brain dump”.

Past tense verses present tense is also something to think about. The original work was written in present tense whereas I wrote the rewrite in past tense.

The First Rewrite: Omniscient Past Tense

Chapter 1

          Black smoke from the exhaust of Lyla’s Volvo polluted the air as she sped through the street dodging car after car. 

          Her eyes flashed to the clock on the dashboard.  Twenty minutes after eight.

          “Shit,” she said as she stomped on the gas. 

          Glenview High School wasn’t large in retrospect to the schools of the neighboring cities.  There were barely a hundred teens that paraded the halls during the school day compared to the hundreds in the other neighborhoods. 

          It wasn’t the best school in Vancouver, but it was hers. 

          Lyla’s personal slice of heaven away from the community apart from the watchful eyes of the Queen, her mother.

          The wheels squealed to a halt as Lyla slammed the breaks, nearly crashing into the car in front of her.

          “Move out of the way,” she yelled at the old lady driving the beat-up Buick. 

          Speeding around the rust bucket, she darted into the school parking lot.

          Of course, the lot was full.  When you want to get somewhere fast, the universe will throw everything in your path to stop you.    Lyla had to park in the last spot furthest away from the building.

          “Shit.  I’m late.  Another tardy to add to my impressive school record.” 

          Lyla grabbed her book bag from the passenger seat and darted toward the red brick school building. 

          “Lyla.  Lyla!”  A familiar voice called. 

          Angel sat at one of the metal tables in the courtyard.  The plastic-like green paint that was meant to keep the metal from rusting was peeling from the table’s corners.  “Ditching study hall again?”  Angel asked.

          “You know it,” Lyla replied as if her being late to school had been intentional.

          Angel stood as tall as Lyla, nearly five foot four inches, with short blonde hair that curled inward framing her pixie-ish face.  Her curvy figure and emerald eyes gave her all the qualification of a Vogue model—something Lyla could never achieve in her lifetime.

          “Are you running late again?” Angel asked.  She always knew when Lyla told a fib.

          Muffling a laugh, Lyla nodded as she dropped her bag on the table and took a seat.  “Always,” Lyla replied as she pulled her long brown hair up into a ponytail.  “Waking up at sunrise is for the birds.  Not for me.”

          Angel laughed as her eyes trailed past Lyla, a lewd smile spreading across her pink lips.

          Lyla didn’t have to turn around to know who Angel was looking at.  That look was reserved for Joel Mason, Angel’s boyfriend, and future husband.

          “I guess that’s my cue,” Lyla said, taking the subtle hint. 

          Joel grabbed Angel from her seat and planted a big kiss on her pink cheek.  “There’s my beauty.”  The love in his eyes was sweet enough to make Lyla’s stomach churn. 

          “Joel,” Angel chastised playfully.  “You are embarrassing me.”  Angel’s cheeks flushed an even rosier shade of pink as Joel’s gaze met Lyla’s. 

          “Morning Princess.”  Joel’s usual greeting for Lyla although he knows it gets under her skin. 

          She may have been a Princess, but that was when they were on their world.  The world of Sanctoria was a long way away from Earth.  She was no more a princess on this planet than he was her personal guard.

          “Get a room,” Lyla replied in the same playful manner.

          “I think you’re jealous.  Did you want a hug too?”  Joel released Angel and took a step towards Lyla.  Retreating a few steps, Lyla held up her hand to stop him. 

          “Definitely not jealous.  No jealousy here.”

          Angel pulled Joel back to her side.  “Whatever,” Joel said as his focus returned to the vixen in his arms.  “You know a little love in your life would make Earth seem a better place, Princess.”  Joel planted another kiss on Angel’s cheek.

          “By the goddess, Joel,” Lyla replied.  “And stop calling me Princess.  You know I don’t like the title.”

          “But you are the Princess.”

          “Not here.  Here I am simply Lyla Starborn.  Average teenager with little prospects for the future.  On Earth, I am just another normal girl.”

          “You are far from normal,” said a raspy voice from behind.  Lyla turned to see Adam Shepherd, another of her supposed personal guards. 

          If Lyla’s people, the Produrai, had not fled from the war of Sanctoria, Adam and Joel would have become her right and left sabers.  They would have been trained in all forms of combat.  Their primary responsibility would have been to protect Lyla from the ever-present threat of the Domura. 

          When the Produrai sought sanctuary on Earth, all that changed.  Now Lyla could only hope for her would be protectors to have a normal life.  A human life.

          “Hi Adam,” Angel called.  He cast a quick smile before walking up to Lyla and wrapping an arm around her shoulder.         

          “Joel, you should be nice to the Princess,” Adam chastised.  “If not for her, we would be stuck in the community and wouldn’t be able to attend this formidable human school.” 

          Joel laughed under his breath as he sarcastically bowed low.  “My apologies, Princess.” 

          “Incorrigible,”  Lyla replied as she shrugged Adam’s arm from her shoulder.  “See you later, Angel, when you ditch the clowns.” 

          Attending the human school was a hard-fought privilege.  Only a handful of Produrai were given permission from the Queen to venture out of the community since they escaped to Earth more than a decade ago. 

          The Queen was very traditional in her ways and refused to mix with the humans even though she sought refuge on their world. 

          Lyla didn’t understand the need for separation. 

          The Produrai were never going back to Sanctoria.  To survive on Earth, they would need to assimilate the human way of life.  They couldn’t hide themselves away in the thick forests outside of Vancouver forever. 

          By late afternoon the sky was a dreary grey from the incoming cold front.  Lyla headed across the street from the school to Teddy’s Diner, a little mom and pop place famous for the best chicken and waffles in town.  It wasn’t very crowded at that time of day so finding a seat was easy.

The First Rewrite: 1st Person Present Tense

Chapter 1

                 I look up at the dark void in search of the twinkling lights above but find none.

To my left is a row of old warehouses decorated by broken windows and graffiti.   To my right is the endless ocean that constantly crashes against the tethered fishing boats, filling the air with the salty smell of the sea. 

The only light is from two lamp posts between me and the end of the lifeless lane.

It’s around one in the morning and the chill in the air sends shivers along my spine causing goose bumps to form on my arms.

          A shadow passes in front of the furthest warehouse from me.   I search for the source of the shadow wishing it to be from him.  Why would anyone else be on the docks at this time of morning? 

The shadow passes in front of another building slinking by dumpsters that are overflowing with trash.   

I can’t see anything in the dimly lit lane, but I know it’s got to be him. 

          “Finally!  You’re late.” I say to the approaching shadow while straining my eyes to see in the darkness. 

The shadow passes in front of another warehouse with windows that are painted black or missing altogether.

My heart races as I notice the off-shape of the shadow.  Maybe I’m seeing things. 

I rub my eyes and strain them against the dim light of the lamps to better see the approaching figure. Get a hold of yourself Lyla.  He said he would meet you and he wouldn’t stand you up-he couldn’t. 

          The shadow moves past another building as a light breeze blows in from the sea sending another set of chills down my spine. 

The smell of saltwater and gasoline waft over the docks.

I look at my watch.  The white band against my pale skin makes the gold face stand out.  It is ten minutes past the hour, and he was supposed to meet me twenty minutes ago. 

          “Is that you,” I ask to the dark figure moving ever steadily toward me.  There is still no answer as the shadow passes the next building. 

The sound of approaching footsteps reaches my ears causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand upMy heart hammers at an irregularly fast pace and the shadow passes by the trash bin two buildings away.  The claws of panic start to set in as the need to flee builds within me.  What if they found me? 

The thought stirs unwanted memories of the past.  Blood.  Lots of blood.  Shaking my head, I push the memories back, locking them away. 

          “Who’s there?”

          Silence.

          “Answer me, damn it.  Stop trying to scare the hell out of me.  It’s not funny.”  The shadow passes the next building and a face comes into the light.  The blood creeps from my face as I face the one person I never wanted to see again. “No.  It can’t be,” I exclaim.  “How did you find me?”

          He takes a step closer, and I take a step back.

          “You’re my girl,” he replied.  His eyes full of intent locked onto me.  I had become the prey once again and he the hunter.  “I will always find you.” 

I turn and run as fast as I can. 

An overwhelming sense of fear and a need to escape drives me to run until my sides hurt and my legs grow tired.  The sound of footsteps behind me urges me on until I’m knocked to the ground. 

His hard body presses firmly into my back, holding me down so that my stomach pushes into the rocky soil.

          “Let me go!” I yell as I struggle to escape his grasp, but he is too strong   

          “Now, I have you,” he says, the breath of his lips against my ear.  “I told you that you will always be my girl.  You belong to me.  I will never let you go.”    

*****

          I sit up with a jolt, breathing heavily as a cold sweat covers my face. 

“It was just a dream,” I say to myself through ragged breath.  “Nothing more than a dream.”  But it wasn’t only a dream; it was a nightmare, a very real nightmare. 

Panting, I look down at my goose covered arms as the remnants of the dream begin to fade. 

The smell of honeysuckle permeates my room pulling me further away from the fog like images in my brain.  The alarm on my cellphone rings telling me that I am late for school once again. 

          Black smoke from the exhaust of my old Volvo, a gift from the Queen, pollutes the air as I speed through the streets dodging car after car.

          My eyes flash to the clock on the dashboard.  Twenty minutes after eight.

          “Shit!” I stomp on the gas.

          Glenview High School isn’t large in retrospect to most of the schools in Vancouver and it isn’t the best school around, but it is my school.  My own personal piece of heaven away from the community and the watchful eyes of my mother, the Queen.

          The wheels squeal to a halt as I slam the breaks nearly crashing into the car in front of me.

          “Move out of the way,” I yell at the old lady driving the beat-up Buick. Speeding around the rust bucket, I dart into the school parking lot.

          Of course, the lot is full.  When you want to get somewhere fast, the universe will throw everything in your path to stop you.

          I parked in the last spot furthest away from the building.

          “Shit.  I’m late.  Another tardy to add to my already impressive school record.”  Grabbing my book bag from the passenger seat, I half walk half jog toward the red brick school building.

          “Lyla.  Lyla!” Angel is at one of the metal tables in the courtyard. The plastic-like green paint that is meant to keep the metal from rusting is peeling from the table’s corners.  “Ditching study hall again?” Angel asks.

          “You know it,” I reply as if being late to school had been my intention all along. 

          Angel is about the same height as me, nearly five foot four inches, with short blonde hair that curls inward framing her pixie-ish face.  Her curvy figure and emerald green eyes give her all the qualifications of a Vogue model—something I could never achieve in this lifetime.

          “Are you running late again?” Angel asks.  She always knows when I’m telling a fib.

          Muffling a laugh, I nodded as I dropped my bag on the table next to hers.  “Always,” I reply as I pull my long brown hair up into a ponytail.  “Waking up at sunrise is for the birds.  Not for me.”

          Angel laughs as her eyes trail past me, a lewd smile spreading across her pink lips. I didn’t have to turn around to know who she was looking at.  That look is reserved for Joel Mason, Angel’s boyfriend and future husband.

          “I guess that’s my cue,” I say, taking the subtle hint.

          Joel grabs Angel from her seat and plants a big kiss on her blushing cheek.  “There’s my beauty,” he says.  The love in his eyes is sweet enough to make my stomach churn.

          “Joel,” Angel chastises playfully.  “You are embarrassing me.”  Angel’s cheeks flush an even rosier shade of pink as Joel casts me a smile.

          “Morning Princess.”  Joel’s usual greeting for me although he knows it gets under my skin.

          I may be a princess, but that is not the case anymore—not on this world.  The world of Sanctoria is galaxies away from Earth.  I am no more a princess on this planet than Joal is my personal guard.

          “Get a room,” I reply in the same playful manner.

          “I think you’re jealous.  Did you want a hug too?” Joel releases Angel and takes a step toward me.  Retreating a few steps, I hold up my hand to stop him.

          “Definitely not jealous.  Nope!  No jealousy here.”

          Angel pulls Joel back to her side.  “Whatever,” Joel says as his focus returns to the vixen in his arms.  “You know a little love in your life would make Earth seem a better place, Princess.”  Joel plants another kiss on Angel’s cheek.

          “By the goddess, Joel,” I reply.  “And stop calling me Princess.  You know I don’t like the title.”

          “But you are a princess,” he argues.

          “Not here.  Here I am simply Lyla Starborn.  Average teenager with little prospects for the future.  On Earth, I am just a normal girl.”

          “You are far from normal,” says a raspy voice from behind.  I turn to see Adam Shepherd, another of my would-have-been personal guards.

          If my people, the Produrai, had not fled from the war of Sanctoria, Adam and Joel would have become my right and left sabers.  They would have trained in all forms of combat.  Their primary responsibility would have been to protect me from the ever-present threat of the Domura.

          However, my people sought sanctuary on Earth, and everything changed. 

          Now, I can only hope for my friends to have a normal life on Earth.  A human life.

          “Hi Adam,” Angel calls as he approaches our table.  Adam casts a quick smile before walking up to me and wrapping an arm around my shoulder.

          “Joel, you should be nice to the Princess,” Adam chastises.  “If not for her we would be stuck in the community doing drills with the legion.”

          Joel laughs under his breath as he sarcastically bows low.  “My apologies, Princess.”

          “Incorrigible,” I reply as I shrug Adam’s arm from my shoulder.  “See you later, Angel, when you ditch the clowns.”

          Attending the human school was a hard-fought privilege.  Only a handful of Produrai have gained permission from the Queen to venture out of the community since we escaped to Earth more than a decade ago.

          Most of my people stay confined within the boundary of the community.  But why would I want to stay within the confines of the community walls?  Our tutorage is about Produrai tradition and Sanctorian history.  Both of these subjects are no longer relevant to our people now that we are on Earth. 

          Many of our traditions relate to the goddess and the twin moons of Sanctoria.  But we don’t live on Sanctoria anymore.  We left our life in the Produrai palace behind when we sought refuge on Earth.

I had begged the Queen for months to allow me to go to a human school. The Queen is very tradition in her ways and refuses to mix with the human population, but I don’t understand the need for separation. 

When on Earth do as the humans do.  The Produrai are never going back to Sanctoria.  To survive on Earth will need to assimilate.  We can’t hide in the thick forests outside of Vancouver forever.  I will never forget the day I won my argument against the Queen about attending a human school.

*****

           “You are the Fifthborn, Lyla, and possibly the heir to my throne.  You must know about our people’s past so you can fulfill your role in the future, whatever that role may be,” the Queen said, her stern voice grating against my ears.

          “My role?  What role can I possibly fill?” I argued.  “Do you seriously expect me to stay here, secluded and away from all the curiosities of Earth for my life?  Why did you decide to bring me to Earth in the first place?  You should have left me behind.”

          The Queen walked over to the large table in the middle of the dining hall and placed her hands on the back of a chair.  Her sagging shoulders and slowed expressions suggested she was weary from our repeated conversation.   

I had been arguing with her for several hours about letting me go attend a human school rather than the school within the community. 

Just as I was about to start protesting again, the sound of metal hitting metal rang throughout the hall.  Thomas entered the room.  He was tall with blond shoulder length hair and eyes the color of night.

The Queen turned to look at him.  “Oh, Thomas, you’re here,” she said.  He walked up to her and bowed with both hands on the floor in front of him.

          “My Queen, you called for me?”  He said.

          “Excuse me, but can’t you see we are having a conversation here,” I interrupted.  He stood up at that moment and looked at me with curiosity. 

          “Lyla, that is enough!”  The Queen scolded.  “Do not disrespect the Commander.”

          “The Commander?  Oh, please.”  I rolled my eyes as I looked him over.  “He doesn’t look like he could command a fly let alone a legion of knights.”  He moved to touch the hilt of his sword as if to pull it from its sheath.

          “My Queen, would you like me to take this pest out of your presence?”  He asked.

          “Pest? Really?  That’s the best you’ve got.”  I walked up to him defiantly standing only inches away, my eyes locked on his as we began a full-out staring match, glaring at each other as we had done countless times since he brought me through the portal to Earth.

          “Lyla, that’s enough!  Leave us.”  The Queen’s tone was threatening.  I knew I had crossed the line, but that wouldn’t cause me to sway from the reason I had requested an audience with her in the first place.

          “Leave?  Sure thing!  I will leave just as soon as you agree to me going to a human school.”  I turned away from Thomas to face the Queen as I tried to imitate her tone.

          “Silence!”  The Queen went to move but stumbled a little.  One second Thomas was in front of me and then, like lightning, he was beside the Queen supporting her. 

          “Sit, my Queen, and rest.  You have overexerted yourself.”  He pulled out the chair that she was leaning on and motioned for her to sit down.  I couldn’t help myself but to continue the argument. 

          “Now that you are comfortable, can we finish what we were discussing,” I said with sarcasm. The Commander positioned himself between me and the Queen as if I were a ferocious animal about to strike.

          “I think the Queen has heard enough from you today.  You need to leave as she asked.” 

He grabbed my cloak and started pushing me toward the entrance of the dining hall.  The Queen watched as I was dragged from the room.

          “Thomas, stop.  Let her go,” the Queen demanded.  He immediately obeyed, a look of irritation on his face. 

Childishly, I stuck my tongue out at him and maneuvered myself around his bulking figure to face the Queen again.  “Lyla, you need to give this up.  I will not allow you to attend a human school.”

          “Seriously, you won’t give up, will you?  I cannot and will not succumb to this ridiculous idea you have for my life.  My role within the community?  Please!  If we were still in Sanctoria, I could understand you, but we are on Earth.  I haven’t been outside of the community since we moved here, and I want to explore this world.”

I sighed and took a few steps closer to her.  “I understand that you want me to be obedient to you like my sister, but I can’t be what you want.  Let me live my life the way I want to live it.  Let me go to the human school and experience things on this world while I have the chance,” I pleaded. 

          The Queen placed her head in her hands and took a few deep breaths before responding with a solemn No.   

My temper flared and I yelled at her at the top of my lungs.   “Then you will have to find a way to keep me confined within the community.  I will use every chance to escape.  There is nothing that you can say or do to keep me here.  Every waking minute of every single day, I will look for ways to escape you. Don’t tell me that I have a role to play in the future because my future isn’t within these boundaries.” 

A hard line formed at the corners of the Queen’s mouth.  She stared at me in silence for a few minutes before calmly responding.

          “Alright, Lyla, how about we compromise?  Since you want to make life on Earth hard for not only me but the poor soul that I would have to assign to guard you, I will let you attend a human school on the condition that you will also have to attend sessions with a tutor of my choosing from the community.  You will have to earn top marks in all subjects at the human school and anything assigned by your tutor.  Should you fail in any way, you will have to withdraw from the human school and return to the community. At which point you will agree to anything that I ask and take your place within our community.  No arguments.” 

The Queen stared into my eyes daring me to ask for more of a compromise.   I pondered on this only for a moment before agreeing to her terms.

*****

          By late afternoon the sky is a dreary grey from the incoming cold front.  Clouds drift by slowly through the air as an owl flies overhead gliding on the breeze.  Its feathers shimmer in the light of the sun giving it an ominous glow.

          After my last class, I walk across the street to Teddy’s Diner, a little mom and pop place famous for the best chicken and waffles in town.  It isn’t very crowded at this time of day so finding a seat is easy.

Other Thoughts about the Rewrite

Rewriting can be just as exciting as writing a novel for the first time. I get to dive back into a world that i haven’t visited for a long time. Adding scenes, fixing errors, defining characters, these are the things that keep me up late into the evening hours or cause me to stir from bed before the sun has risen.

After reading both points of view, I feel that I like the present tense 1st person POV better than the omniscient POV but I want a reader’s perspective.

Which would you rather read? Omniscient POV or 1st person POV? Do you prefer present or past tense? Leave me a comment below or send me an email at dawnb423@gmail.com and let me know your opinion.

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Author: Cynthia Brandel

Published author and founder of https://cynthiabrandel.com, Cynthia has captivated the world with her works of fiction including The Sanctorian Series and her latest work, The Revenant City Series. Lover of young adult reads and fantasy reads, Cynthia has transformed her passions into a full-time career.

4 thoughts

  1. I have friends who vied to become writers. One succeeded, publishing his science fiction book after 14 years. He’s currently writing another, more historical book. The other also studied in the field, then attempted publishing, but I believe went the kindle route. I did some writing, but knowing the competition, enjoyed it, but went into a career I also liked. It’s a matter of doing what you enjoy, but also opportunity. There are books we have no idea how they sold. Then, I’ve seen writers that are amazing unable to find support. I always say, make sure you have your day job, but also pursue the writing career or other choice. Life is filled with challenges.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I believe the same as you. I write for the joy of writing. At the same time, I want to further develop my skill as a writer and try to cater to an audience that enjoys works similar to my own interest.

      Like

      1. I think seeking an audience is the way to prove concept. It’s one thing to have great ideas, but another to find an audience. The second friend rarely had anyone read his writings. It was good stuff, but I didn’t think marketable. He needed feedback and from multiple audiences.

        Liked by 2 people

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