In a writing workshop I once took, the literary novelist Ethan Canin told us that reading is “about connecting with a sensibility.” This resonated with me as a writer because I know that when something I read compels me, it’s because I feel like I’m connecting to a certain world view in a piece of writing, a specific take on a timeless theme, a fresh, original voice. A teacher I had in college used to like to say “there are no new plots, just new characters” – and I’d like to take that one step further. New sensibilities. Lucky for all of us writers – each of our sensibilities is truly individual. No one else in the wide world sees the way we see – through our unique experience, through our distinctive eyes.
And that’s the heart of point of view.
Not just who’s telling the story or how it’s being told but the entire world view that an author translates through a piece of writing to a reader.
Different readers connect to different point of views, to different sensibilities. It’s why I can read something and think “Wow, this engages me. I’m hooked.” And the guy sitting next to me in the café can tell me he couldn’t get through it. It’s two sensibilities connecting – or not.
So that’s why I think Point of View is essential as a writer and a reader.
~Kim Culbertson, Author