Tag Archives: point of view

Point of View

Credit: theodysseyonline.com

The correct point of view (pov) can make or break your novel. The reader wants to be drawn in and feel like they’re part of the story, and this happens through point of view.

New writers often believe that the omniscient point of view is the one they should write in. That way, the reader can know everything that is happening in the story. Makes sense, doesn’t it? At first glance, it does. Omniscient point of view does have its place, and works very well for certain types of story, but it takes a seasoned writer to do a masterful job of this pov.

Party Stories

When you’re at a party, or meeting a friend, and you tell a story – think about what you do and say. Chances are you’re going to be using first person (I) and, if you’re like me, gesturing a lot and getting extremely animated. Using first person, allows you to bring in this personal aspect into the storytelling. It does force you to tell the story only from that person’s viewpoint, but there are ways around that too.

Chances also are that the person who’s telling the story is also the most important person in the story – otherwise, why is he telling the story? He’s the only one who knows the story intimately and that’s the beauty of this pov – that intimacy will shine through. We are in that person’s world, feeling what he feels, doing what he does, and being crushed when he is. It’s probably the easiest pov to write as well, since we can immerse ourselves into the character’s emotions and thoughts.

Third person point of view works too. Although it does not have the immediacy of first person, it is the pov that works for most novels. It also allows you to use other characters’ voices in the story. Definitely not as limiting as first person, but it’s a good idea to limit your pov’s to two or three people or you’ll end up getting as confused as your reader will be.

What pov do you like to write in?

You might also like these posts from Writer’s Digest:

Point of View

When writing a novel, the author needs to choose a point of view (POV). And point of view is one of the major problems new writers have to contend with. What point of view or POV means is – someone must tell the story. It could be the main character or several of the characters taking turns; it could be a narrator who knows a certain amount of information about all the characters or it can be the author’s voice itself narrating the story.

What was that? Isn’t the author telling the story anyway? True, but read on to find out how and why you need to decide on a specific POV before you even begin writing.

Certain forms of genre fiction also lend themselves to certain POVs. For example, Young Adult is almost always written in first person.

Different Points of View

  • First Person 

IIn this, the perspective of the story unfolds through the eyes of one specific person – the narrator. This is the type of novel that uses the word “I” to recount the action. For ex: “I stood up, my chest heaving in frustration.” The author only needs to worry about defining the narrator’s voice and since the narrator tends to be the main character, the voice is distinctive. The narrator has to be in every scene and the reader is limited to knowing only what the narrator sees or senses. It is not possible to have other characters’ views except as seen or experienced by the narrator. There are exceptions of course where you can use another POV separated by a chapter or scene break, but for all intents and purposes First Person POV is only the person telling the story.

  • Second Person 

youThis POV is almost never used.in fiction as it doesn’t work very well and gets fatiguing to read very quickly. Second person POV is when you use “you” to tell the story. Ex: “You find yourself out cold on the floor and when you open your eyes, your head feels like several drummers are banging on their drums inside.” Use second person POV as an exercise to find out how difficult and cumbersome it is. NEVER use it in a novel.

 

  • Third Person Limited (he, she, it, they, them)

he or sheThis is, perhaps, the most common POV used by novelists. Like in first person, the reader experiences the thoughts and actions of one person either throughout the novel or per chapter or scene. However, instead of using “I” third person pronouns such as “he, she, it, they, or them” are used. In this POV, the story is told strictly through the eyes of the person narrating – so nothing can happen that he or she has not seen or experienced.

 

This is probably the easiest POV to write in especially for novice writers. Master this POV before attempting any of the others.

  • Third Person Omniscient (he, she, it, they, them)

michael angeloIn this point of view, the narrator acts like an all-seeing, all-knowing God who can pop into the heads of any of the characters at any given time. In this POV, the author’s voice usually shines through whenever there is a narration or exposition. This POV can be difficult to carry out because, unless done correctly, the reader can become confused about who is talking.

Also, in this POV the narrator’s voice actually is part of the story and has a specific and unique voice of its own. It may sound like it’s the easiest POV to use since you can just tell the story, but in actual fact it’s probably the most difficult. Do not attempt until you have become a more proficient writer.

Which POV do you feel works for you?