So everyone should know what a Point of View (POV) is. It’s how the story is written, who’s telling it. There are three different POVs, and they are as follows: first, second, and third. Easy, right? If you can count to three, you know your POVs.
This is when your story is written using I and Me.
Example: “I went to the store today, but the lines were so long that I ended up punching some dude in the face.”
- First person is very good at getting the reader to identify with the character quickly.
- The reader can easily see the main character’s thoughts and feelings.
- Many writers find first person very easy to write. After all, you spend most of your life speaking in first person, so you’ve got plenty of practice.
- You’re restricted to only what your viewpoint character knows.
- The mirror cliché. If you plan on having your main character describe herself, it’s going to be awfully hard to come up with something that isn’t the mirror cliché.
- First person can seem gimmicky if not done well.
- You have to be careful about not starting too many sentences with the word “I”.
- If your main character doesn’t have a distinctive voice, the narration will fall flat.
- Narrators can be unreliable. Personally, I like this. While writing Thief, I experimented with first person POV, and I made my main character unreliable. However, first person didn’t really work out for me, so I ended up going with third.
- Don’t use first person if you have multiple viewpoint characters. Third is much better suited for that. While it can be done, it’s often very awkward.
This is when your story addresses the reader using You. Honestly, I’ve never seen it used outside those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that used to be popular when I was a kid.
Example: “You aren’t going to send this blog anonymous hate because you’re a good person.”
I’m not going to get into second person because it’s so uncommon outside of novelty stories, and I can’t say I have much of an opinion about it. I even used Google to try and find some, but there were only a handful out there, and I’ve never heard of any of them.
Third Person Omniscient
This is when your story is told by some unnamed narrator and uses Him and Her.
Example: “Mabel went to go get lemonade. Also, that hobo, whom she has never met, really likes puppies.”
- Having multiple viewpoint characters is easy.
- Describing scenes is easier. (This one might just be me, but it always seemed weird to me when the narrator of a first person POV novel randomly starts describing the intricate details of a wood carving.)
- Exposition is easy to write.
- Some books require an intimacy that’s only gotten through first person.
- It’s easy to go overboard with the exposition if you’re not careful.
Third Person Limited
This is when your narrator knows only what the main character knows. It’s almost like a meeting ground between third omniscient and first..
Example: “Mabel doesn’t like hobos, so she walks on the opposite side of the street.”
- You get both intimacy with the characters and perspective.
- Keeping the POV consistent can be tricky. You need to constantly check and make sure you’re not slipping into third omniscient.
That’s about all I can think of about this subject. Really, it comes down to what you’re comfortable writing. Some people are really awesome at writing first person, some are really awesome at third person. If you’re not very good at one of them, you can get better. It just requires time and effort to practice.