Point of View in writing tells the reader who is narrating the story. The writer’s decision helps to determine the angle to write from. Establishing your credibility and gaining the readers’ trust is crucial to every writer; that is why understanding Point Of View (POV) is necessary.
Selecting the appropriate POV is important because it will help you tell your story accurately and make your readers understand the characters better. Imagine reading a self-help book that does not directly address you as a reader! That defeats the point of the book because its message will not feel personal to you.
Despite establishing the value POV gives to writing, you will still find yourself pondering the question: how do I know the relevant one to use in narrating my story? The answer lies in knowing the types of POV.
- First Person: When narrating a story from the first-person perspective, the writer is writing as the main character. The narrator is involved, as he/she is telling their experience. This POV frequently used in fiction writing uses the personal pronouns I, me, we, and us for the main character. This technique builds intrigue, expresses an opinion and gives the story credibility. The character does not necessarily have to be a protagonist; they could also be an antagonist. Truly, it is one of the easiest points of view, but it is limited because it is character-driven. It focuses on the actor, not the action.
- Second Person: Second person POV is a rarely used narrative technique because it draws the readers into the story. It is more personal for the readers as they feel the narrator talking to them. As such, a writer is not narrating from his/her perspective. Pronouns ‘you’ and ‘your’ describe the main character. While it is not a common style in fiction writing, it is rampant in non-fiction such as self-help books. One advantage of this point of view is that it provides the readers with an opportunity to reflect. Nonetheless, it is limited to the readers’ imagination. The readers can only travel as far as their minds can.
- Third Person: The third-person narrative completely detaches the narrator from the story. He is neither telling ‘his’ nor ‘a’ story but ‘their’ story, and the central character is not the narrator. Pronouns: he/she, his/hers, they/theirs are used to describe the main characters. The third-person POV is of three types: third-person limited, third-person omniscient, and third-person objective. In the third-person limited, access is restricted to the characters’ thoughts and experiences, while omniscient grants the narrator unlimited access. The third-person objective tells the story from an observational standpoint. The narrator is not privy to the characters’ thoughts and feelings.
There is no best point of view because they are unique. Nevertheless, if you want your characters’ voice to shine through, consider using the First Person Point of View, but if you want your voice to shine through, use the Second or Third Person Point of View. Whatever narrative style you decide on, endeavour to be consistent with it.