Point of View in Writing (POV)

Point of view is the manner in which a story is narrated or depicted and who it is that tells the story.

Simply put, the point of view determines the angle and perception of the story unfolding, and thus influences the tone in which the story takes place.

Types of Point of View in writing

There are four major types of Point of View:

  1. First Person
  2. Second Person
  3. Third Person, Limited
  4. Third Person, Omniscient

First Person

This point of view is in use when a character narrates the story with I-me-my-mine in his or her speech. The character is in the story, relating his or her experiences directly.

The advantage of this point of view is that you get to hear the thoughts of the narrator and see the world depicted in the story through his or her eyes. First person narrators cannot be everywhere at once and thus cannot get all sides of the story. They are telling their story, not necessarily the story.

Second Person Point Of View

The second-person point of view is a point of view where the audience is made a character.

This is done with the use of the pronouns “you”, “your”, and “yours.”

In this point of view, the narrator is relating the experiences of another character called “you.” Thus, you become the protagonist, you carry the plot, and your fate determines the story.

Third Person Point Of View

In third person, the narrator is outside of the story and relating the experiences of a character. The central character is not the narrator. In fact, the narrator is not present in the story at all. This POV is not common in fiction, but it’s still good to know (it is common in nonfiction).

  • Third Person Limited

The Third person limited point of view is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character.

Third person limited is a popular POV in mystery novels because when we don’t know what secondary characters are thinking and feeling explicitly, they remain a mystery.

  • Third Person Omniscient

The third person omniscient point of view is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows what every character is thinking.

Using the third-person omniscient point of view, but the narrator has full access to the thoughts and experiences of all characters in the story.

Point of View Mistakes

Point of view problems are among the top mistakes inexperienced writers make. All stories are written from a point of view. However, when point of view goes wrong and it does often—you threaten whatever trust you have with your reader.

How do you choose the right one for your story?

There is no best point of view. If you’re just getting started, I would encourage you to use either first person or third person limited point of view because they’re easy to understand.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting.

Whatever you choose, be consistent. Avoid the mistakes of mixing POV’s in your book. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have different POV for different characters, you can. but change chapters. some change in paragraphs, but I mean this can be too confusing without warning the reader of the change.

Whatever POV you start with a character, you need to keep it that way for the entire book.

Next Article: Show Don’t tell.

Sen Mack – Author