The Ditchwalk Book Club is reading and discussing Rust Hills’ seminal work, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular. Announcement here. Overview here. Tag here.
It is a premise of Hills’ book that movement of character is synonymous with story. The degree of demonstrated movement may be momentous or barely a whisper, but through this change we perceive that something has happened in a work of fiction. It stands to reason, then, that if authors want to generate as much artistic and emotional power as possible from movement of character, they will probably give the genesis and resolution of that movement considerable authorial attention.
Of all the attention-focusing techniques available to you as a storyteller, none is greater than point of view. Scene selection, setting, tone and any other aspect of story — including even characterization itself — can be emphasized or minimized in service of your authorial goals, but point of view is global. Where all other aspects of story, in proportion, affect the unity and effectiveness of a work, point of view determines how we perceive that unity and effectiveness. Choose the wrong setting and you may dampen the effect of your story. Choose the wrong point of view and you may destroy it completely.