Who’s talking? POV, Voice, and Narrator as explained in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird

book cover

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

There are few books that come up with my writer friends more often than Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. In the same way that I feel like I’m not quite smart enough because I’ve never taken Calculus, I’ve felt like a slacker because I┬ánever got around to reading it.

And I should have felt guilty–because it’s great.

Okay, so it has a lot of rather vulgar language, but Lamott’s writing is so funny, and yet so useful, that I’m pretty much in love with the book.

One of the interesting bits of advice that Lamott gives writers is a gem she attributes to the author Ethan Canin. The most important way to improve your writing, he says, is to employ a likeable narrator.

Here’s the thing that struck me about this advice: for many, many years, I always wrote in third person. Continue reading