Points of View Explained

When you’ve decided what story you’re going to tell, the next step is normally deciding what Point of View (or POV) you’re going to use. For some it’s apparent immediately, for others it can take a lot of consideration. Here I break down what each POV is and hope it helps you find out how you want to tell your story.

First Person

First person is used when your main character is telling the story. If you’ve ever read a book which uses ‘I’ as a narrator (for example, The Hunger Games), then this is first POV. Your reader will experience your story through the eyes of your main character so your reader won’t know anyone else’s perspective apart from your main character. This can be good because it can create a strong emotional connection with the character and the story and draw the reader in. The downside is your reader will only be able to see the story from this main character, however, if you want a more intimate experience for your reader, this could be ideal.

Second Person

Second person point of view isn’t usually found in fiction as it’s not an easy way of writing and readers aren’t used to it as it’s normally used in instructional writing. It is uses the perspective of “you”. For example: You walk into a room and you see a table. 

Third Person

Third person POV is used when your narrator is not a character from your story. The third person uses the “he/she/it” narrative and is the most used in fiction.

There are 3 main types of Third Person POV within this POV:

  • Third Person Limited: This means your POV is limited to only one character which means the narrator only knows what your character knows. With the limited third person POV you have the options to view the story from within your main character’s head or from further away. But like first-person, you’re restricted to one viewpoint, using the ‘he/she/it/they’ approach
  • Third Person Multiple: This type is still in the “he/she/it” family but now you can expand on the number of characters you follow. You have to have an indicator for your reader when you switch POVs so that they don’t get confused (for me I use asterisks centered on it’s on paragraph ***) and they need to be used consistently to be plausible and have a good flow. I’ve used this POV for Rogue and definitely had to learn to avoid POV slips and make it super easy for the reader to follow.
  • Third Person Omniscient: This point of view still uses the “he/she/it” narration but now the narrator knows all-the-things that are happening in the story (think the Book Theif). The narrator has no limitations and is almost like a God character and can comment on what’s happening in such a way and can see inside characters heads.

For me, I like third person and particularly third person multiple. I’d like to try other POVs but it’s an interesting aspect of writing to learn about.

What’s your favorite POV to use?

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