Advice

Different Points of View in Writing explained

One of the questions faced by writers is which point of view to write from. You may not realise there are more options than just straightforward first or third person, and this post will explain the difference between the various points of view you may write or read.

First person

First person point of view is writing from the perspective of the character. It uses the words ‘I’ and ‘me’. You see everything that happens through their eyes, and experience events as the character experiences them. You only know the information that the character knows, creating a more intimate reading experience.

Second person

This point of view is an uncommon choice of point of view, and not one you see very often in prose. This POV includes the use of the words ‘you’, ‘your’, and ‘yours’, and is used to address the reader directly.

Limited omniscient third person

There are a few different ways to write from the third person point of view. At its core, third person involves telling the story from the perspective of someone who is watching the action take place, but isn’t involved in it directly. It may involve words such as ‘he/she’, ‘him/her’, and ‘they/them’. A limited omnisicent point of view is when we know what characters are thinking, but not all of them. For example, knowing everything about one group of characters, but not that of another, or soley that of the protagonist. This allows for surprise reveals to certain characters, and in turn the reader,  in a similar fashion to first person.

Omniscient third person

An omniscient third person point of view means that we know what all the characters in the story are thinking. We have access to all the information about all the characters, as the narrator is all-knowing.

Objective third person

This point of view simply describes what is happening to the characters in the story, without telling the reader what any of them are thinking. They don’t favour one character over another, presenting the story in an objective way.

Alternating limited/omniscient point of view

An alternating point of view switches between characters – perhaps between chapters or sections – showing the story from those different characters’ perspectives. This can be done in first or third person, and offers another point of view option for writers, as well as a twist for the reader.

Which point of view do you prefer to write from, and which will you be trying in your next piece? Leave us a comment below, as well as any other advice you have for fellow writers!


 

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