Who will tell your story? The answer is not always clear. Point of view (or otherwise known as POV) is a critical choice that sets the tone for the entire short story or novel. Will you, the author, speak as the narrator? Or will a character in the story step forward to introduce the characters and walk the read through the story, step by step?
Watching the characters act like they are stage (omniscent) feels very different than a character stepping off the stage, taking us by the hand, and telling his or her story (first person). The story will change depending on who tells it. Each character will bring a new perspective to the story. They will not tell the story in the same way as another character. They bring their own experiences, thoughts, emotions, and worldview to the table.
As writers, we have to discover who tells the story and how that story will be told. Sometimes, the choice is obvious. Other times, it takes some experimenting. The narrator will set the tone from the first sentence and carry it through to the last sentence. It's one of the most critical choices a writer will make.
WRITING PROMPT: Take a story that you are currently working on or have written. If you don't have one, choose a story that you've read recently and enjoyed. Consider which character told the story and the point of view that the author chose to use. Rewrite a scene from that story using a different character as the narrator or from a different point of view (omniscent vs. first person). How will the scene be different? What will be the same? What new insight do you gain from the story if it is told differently?