Paula looks at telling stories from a character’s viewpoint.
She slammed the door behind her, and
didn’t hear his grunt of frustration.
we’re telling the story from ‘her’ viewpoint, we can’t include anything she didn’t
As he went into the house and closed
the door, two men came out of the house further down the street.
we’ve jumped out of ‘his’ viewpoint, and we’re telling the reader about
something he doesn’t know about.
She was too modest to realise they
were all enthralled by her sweet singing voice.
sentence takes us completely away from the heroine’s viewpoint because (a)
would she really know she was too modest? (b) how does she know they were
enthralled if she doesn’t realise this?
short, if we are in e.g. the heroine’s viewpoint, we are limited to what she
can see, hear, smell, taste, touch – as well as feel and know. She can’t see
the expression on someone’s face if she has her back to him (unless she is
facing a mirror) and she can’t know what someone else is thinking (unless she
is a mind reader!).
this sounds very obvious, but I’ve been amazed at how often some writers jump away
from the character’s viewpoint - and, in doing so, take the reader away from the character.