Understanding Point Of View In Writing

Point of View in writing tells the reader who is narrating the story. The writer’s decision helps to determine the angle to write from. Establishing your credibility and gaining the readers’ trust is crucial to every writer; that is why understanding Point Of View (POV) is necessary.

Selecting the appropriate POV is important because it will help you tell your story accurately and make your readers understand the characters better. Imagine reading a self-help book that does not directly address you as a reader! That defeats the point of the book because its message will not feel personal to you.

Despite establishing the value POV gives to writing, you will still find yourself pondering the question: how do I know the relevant one to use in narrating my story? The answer lies in knowing the types of POV.

  1. First Person: When narrating a story from the first-person perspective, the writer is writing as the main character. The narrator is involved, as he/she is telling their experience. This POV frequently used in fiction writing uses the personal pronouns I, me, we, and us for the main character. This technique builds intrigue, expresses an opinion and gives the story credibility. The character does not necessarily have to be a protagonist; they could also be an antagonist. Truly, it is one of the easiest points of view, but it is limited because it is character-driven. It focuses on the actor, not the action. 
  2. Second Person: Second person POV is a rarely used narrative technique because it draws the readers into the story. It is more personal for the readers as they feel the narrator talking to them. As such, a writer is not narrating from his/her perspective. Pronouns ‘you’ and ‘your’ describe the main character. While it is not a common style in fiction writing, it is rampant in non-fiction such as self-help books. One advantage of this point of view is that it provides the readers with an opportunity to reflect. Nonetheless, it is limited to the readers’ imagination. The readers can only travel as far as their minds can. 
  3. Third Person: The third-person narrative completely detaches the narrator from the story. He is neither telling ‘his’ nor ‘a’ story but ‘their’ story, and the central character is not the narrator. Pronouns: he/she, his/hers, they/theirs are used to describe the main characters. The third-person POV is of three types: third-person limited, third-person omniscient, and third-person objective. In the third-person limited, access is restricted to the characters’ thoughts and experiences, while omniscient grants the narrator unlimited access. The third-person objective tells the story from an observational standpoint. The narrator is not privy to the characters’ thoughts and feelings.

There is no best point of view because they are unique. Nevertheless, if you want your characters’ voice to shine through, consider using the First Person Point of View, but if you want your voice to shine through, use the Second or Third Person Point of View. Whatever narrative style you decide on, endeavour to be consistent with it. 

Four Ways To Use Passive Voice Appropriately In Writing

The use of passive voice is often critiqued as bad writing style, which is incorrect. Though, it should be used sparingly, it shouldn’t be eliminated totally because sometimes it is essential in emphasizing details.

Passive voice is used when the subject of a sentence is the recipient of a verb. Most times, the receiver is of little or no importance to the sentence, so, why should it overshadow the subject acting? Well, this skepticism is true because the inappropriate use makes your writing vague and boring, by emphasizing things of less importance.

Notwithstanding, a passive voice can function better than an active voice in some sentences, when used the right way. Here are some ways to use the passive voice aptly.

  1. To report crimes with an alleged or unknown culprit: In some criminal cases, the perpetrator of the crime is unknown; therefore the focus should not be on an unknown person, but on whom or what was affected (the recipient of the action). 

For instance;

My neighbor was murdered last night. 

The subject (neighbor) is the receiver of the action, and the emphasis is on it. 

  • For scientific situations: When performing a scientific experiment the emphasis is not placed on the scientist experimenting, but on what the experiment entails. So, the subject matter is the things or person receiving the action.

For instance;

The Laboratory rat was used to test the efficiency of the drug. (Passive)

The scientist used the Laboratory rat to test the efficiency of the drug. (Active)

In the two sentences, how relevant is the scientist in the active sentence construction above? The use of passive voice effectively passes the message and draws attention to what is important; the Laboratory rat.

  • To emphasize the action, not the doer: In a situation where the “action” is more relevant than the initiator, a passive voice can be used.

For instance:

She was sworn in yesterday as the Director of, The World Trade Organization.

Who was performing the swearing-in was irrelevant because the emphasis is on the action, and the message is fully understood. 

  • To shift the blame on nobody: You might be wondering how this is possible, well, it is. As a writer, you can use passive voice to exonerate. You can make a character get away with a crime by detaching him from the incident or action. 

For instance;

The crime was committed yesterday.

The question posed here is; who committed the crime? Or who was involved? This statement can’t be traced to a particular person or thing. It could be who you are thinking or not. You create suspense and leave your readers to ponder.

You can easily identify a passive sentence with the presence of “to be verbs”. They include verb forms like was, were, are, etc. You can seldom write without using these verbs, howbeit, it should be used daintily or as stated in the above exceptions. To avoid errors in your writing, it is important to thoroughly proofread your work and remove any misuse of the passive voice, but if you can’t go through that process, we have a team of professional editors who can help. Contact us today at Sabi Writers.

Understanding Pronouns

A pronoun is a substitute for a noun to avoid redundancy. It serves as a reference to nouns previously mentioned in a sentence. It includes he, she, who, someone, etc. Despite being a well-known part of speech, it can be misused in a sentence. As a professional, understanding the rules of exceptions would guide you in their appropriate usage and avoid common errors. 

  1. The basic rule of pronouns states that a singular pronoun is always followed by a singular verb and a plural pronoun by a plural verb.
  2. Always put the other person first. It is incorrect to write ‘Me and my sister are going to the market’ rather than ‘My sister and I are going to the market’.
  3. An apostrophe is used with pronouns only for contraction purposes, not to show possession. For example, ‘it’s’ means ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. Therefore, when used in a sentence, it should be ‘We have reached its peak’, not ‘We have reached it’s peak’.
  4. A singular verb always follows ‘either of’, ‘neither of’, and ‘each of’, irrespective of the noun in the sentence. This is because the three pronouns refer to only one subject. For instance, it is wrong to write, ‘Each of us are writing a story’. The correct thing is ‘Each of us is writing a story’.
  5. Never use ‘they’ and ‘their’ with a singular pronoun. For instance, ‘Somebody laughed, and they should be punished’. ‘Somebody’ refers to a single person, while ‘they’ indicates plural. There is no concord between the two pronouns. Breaking this rule could make your writing unclear.

A professional writer adheres strictly to these exceptions to ensure error-free writing. However, if you do not want to go through this rigorous process, Sabi Writers provides a lasting solution. With a team of professional writers and editors only a call away, Sabi Writers will provide you with error-free work.

How To Use Literary Devices To Sustain Your Readers’ Attention

Captivating your readers’ attention is good, but how do you sustain it? What keeps them transfixed till the end? Employing literary devices is one proven way to keep your readers wondering what goes beyond the current page.

Literary devices are techniques used in creating special effects and enhancing narratives. They cut across various genres in literature and are usually confused with the figures of speech. Figures of speech are a type of literary device. 

Think for a second of how bland your narration would be without the use of dramatic irony, suspense, tragic flaws, figures of speech, flashback, etc. Literary devices give deeper meanings to sentences. They also create room for reflection and keep your readers connected to your writing.

There are many literary devices, each with its unique purpose. Let’s examine a few and how they function in a narrative.

  1. Figures of speech: Figures of speech are the most common technique. They typically do not go by their literal meanings.

‘I wanted to go out, but the sun smiled at me. I could see Mother Nature telling me to stay back’. Though the sun is lifeless, it smiled. It paints pictures in your readers’ minds. 

‘I could not go out because of the sun’.Both statements portray similar meanings, but the first used personification, a figure of speech, to create a strong mental image.

  • Dramatic irony: Creating a scene that puts your reader a step ahead of the characters is dramatic irony. It excites them to know that they have information that the characters are unaware of. In Romeo and Juliet, the reader was aware that they were both alive while the characters were clueless.
  • Flashback: When a writer takes the readers to the past, that is a flashback. It is a technique that makes your reader understand better the action or motive of a character. It gives an in-depth insight into a narrative.
  • Suspense: It is a heightened tension developed by deliberately withholding information from the readers. In contrast to dramatic irony, your reader does not have the information required to unravel mysteries in the plot. They are then eager to know what comes next.
  • Humour: Injecting an element of humour in your writing creates relief and loosens tension. It keeps your readers interested in your work.

Literary devices are an excellent way of sustaining your reader’s attention; however, they could make or mar your writing. Using them appropriately is consequential to your writing success. So always consider your style, audience, and tone before selecting and using a literary device. 

How to Create the Right Book Title

Have you ever picked up a book or an article that you developed a curiosity for because of its title?

Well, having the right title is a critical way to spark people’s interest in your work because it is the first word(s) readers see. A title is a name given to a book, an article, or artistic work in a few words or phrases. Frank Crane once said, ‘Next in importance to books are their title’, which is why many writers struggle with it. If you struggle to come up with the perfect title for your book or article, let’s show you the basic principles that can help.

  1. Use keywords: Keywords are words or phrases that describe an idea or the central idea of your book/article. This is why, when you brainstorm ideas for your title, you need to ensure that it communicates the content of your writing adequately. For instance, if you are writing a book about animal rearing with a focus on expected trends in the future, your title could be The Future of Animal Rearing or The Evolution of Animal Rearing. With both topics, your readers already know what to expect.
  2. Keep the title simple: Don’t confuse your audience by using uncertain and obscure language. It could pass the wrong message. Let the choice of words be clear and easy to understand. Suppose, in the same example in the previous point, the writer chose a title like Comprehending the Intricate Progression of Mammalian Nurturage. No doubt, even you rolled your eyes at that. While it is saying the same thing, the likelihood is it would not be interesting enough to attract curiosity. Make your title easy to understand.
  3. Consider your audience: This point follows the previous one. While developing a good title, you want to ensure that you consider your audience by knowing what they want and the language that most appeals to them. For instance, Comprehending the Intricate Progression of Mammalian Nurturage could work for academic publishing because people in that field appreciate the complexity. However, if your audience is the everyday Jane or John, who wants to distil knowledge in the simplest way possible, The Future of Animal Rearing is your best bet.
  4. Keep it short and precise: A title is not a paragraph or a chapter and should not contain a long string of sentences. It should be clear, accurate, and straightforward.
  5. Avoid too many details: Every title aims to create interest in the reader’s mind. It should give an insight into the content rather than explaining in detail. If it’s too detailed, it could be too wordy, and you don’t want that. Your title should be an appetiser that creates a hunger for the main course.

With these tips, getting a title for your book/article shouldn’t be difficult. It’s okay if, after you have developed your content, you don’t have a title. All you need to do is read through it and decide if it will be in the form of a rhetorical question, a clear statement that answers your readers’ questions, or even an adage. 

At Sabi Writers, we have perfected the art of titling. Beyond that, we can bring life to that book idea in your head. Contact us!

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