Perception is often more “real” than reality. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are driving along and you hit a few potholes. You feel your car bump a few times but it doesn’t concern you. Now, let’s say you are sitting in a 737 at 43,000 feet and the plane enters a bit of turbulence. You feel those bumps in your seat and your heart beats faster and you break out in a cold sweat. Actually, you are much safer in that 737 than you will ever be in your car. But the “perception” that flying is more dangerous is what clouds your judgment.
If you are a writer you want your reader to identify with your protagonist. You want them to experience the same feelings, doubts, happiness that the hero or heroine faces. That perception is what we call verisimilitude. It is the action or more precisely the “art” of convincing your reader to give up their knowledge of reality and accepting the perception that your story is real.
That makes your job harder but completely necessary if you expect to be successful as an author. The way to do that is to make your characters people with whom your readers can identify The biggest criticism I see in Amazon reviews, other than grammatical and spelling errors, is that the characters are “thin” or “cardboard.” So how do you flesh out your characters? While it is easy to explain, it is not easy to do, but you must put yourself into your protagonist situation and write how you would react to whatever happens to him or her.
That is why I always, when possible, write in the first person. I prefer to let my character face the perils and passions if I pretend that it is happening to me. Of course, I am not able to leap tall buildings or absorb bullets like my hero but I also would not heal as fast as my hero.
Using third person or omnipresent viewpoint keeps information from my protagonist, and sometimes that is necessary. But I like it when my hero is surprised at the same time as the reader. Is it more difficult to write in this manner? Sure it is,and it may not be comfortable for you. Every writer has to find his or her “notch” that feels best. If you are uneasy with your character, ti is for sure that the reader will be too.