Handling Point Of View

In a short story, it is important to show the entire story through the protagonist's point of view. Viewpoint can shift from one character to another in a novel, if it is absolutely necessary, but within the brief confines of a short story it is best to stick to one viewpoint character and show the entire tale through that character's eyes.

Even if you write the story in the third person, put nothing on paper that the protagonist has not experienced firsthand. In a novel, where you may shift viewpoint from one character to another, it is best to write each individual scene from one character's viewpoint alone. In a short story, I repeat, tell the entire story from the protagonist's point of view.

This limits you, I know. The protagonist must be in every scene, and you can't tell the reader anything that the protagonist does not know. But in return for these problems you get a story that is immediate and real. When the protagonist is puzzled, the reader is puzzled; when the protagonist feels pain, the reader aches; when the protagonist wins against all odds, the reader triumphs. In other words, the reader has been living the story, not merely reading some words off a page.

You might be tempted to write the story in the first person:

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