November’s Silver screen theme brought to mind the book Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. While it’s a book on craft not cinema, Card talks about using viewpoint like a movie camera lens and provides visual examples to better show how this works, an approach that I have found very useful.
Consider the difference between the first and third person viewpoints. In first person, the eyes of the main or viewpoint character act like the movie camera. The readers see what the character sees, and this character can zoom in or pan out depending on what’s important to them as the story unfolds. Whereas in a third person POV, the narrator is often the camera man determining when to zoom and pan. If the third person POV is omniscient, then this camera man can jump in and out of everyone’s minds eye in the story. Whereas, if it is limited, then like the first person, this camera man can only see through the main character’s eyes.
This explanation is of course grossly simplified out of respect for Card’s work. But, whether you’re just getting started on your first manuscript, hitting your first or seventh revision, or a seasoned writer looking to brush up on craft, I highly recommend checking out Characters and Viewpoint.