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Understanding Vantage Point and Using it in Your Writing

Often, first time writers pick up a pen because something has happened in their life that they believe others should know about.  Maybe they have just finished the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or possibly they watched a friend bleed to death in Iraq and they’ve decide they need to write a memoir or novel about the experience.  The nature of the catalyst isn’t important.  What is, is that the writer understands that the catalyst is just the jump off point.  Only after writing a first draft can they begin to understand why they are writing.  Reasons like ‘I want to help others like me,’ or ‘I can make a lot of cash by writing my experience,’ are never the true reason someone needs to write a novel.  The true reason to write something honest and genuine can only be found through the creative process.

This is where vantage point—the reason the narrator is speaking from a particular point in time—comes in.  After we’ve toiled over our first draft we can back up and ask ourselves:

Why is my narrator telling this story?

When is my narrator telling this story?

Who is the narrator telling the story to?

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