Narration: Point of View

(Last Updated On: September 29, 2016)

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Point of view, simply put, is the narrator. Who is the person telling the story? Who is he in relation to the story? Is he a character? Is he some detached entity that has nothing to do with the story and does he just narrate the events and what is happening?

There are three different types of PoV: First Person, Second Person and Third. Each different type, of course, has it’s merits and it’s disadvantages.

First Person PoV :

I woke up to rain and wind howling outside my window.

One of the most common PoVs, the narrator is usually a character in the story and most times, he is the protagonist, or at least a character that has a crucial role in the story, even if he is in the sidelines.

First Person allows the reader a glimpse inside the mind of the character/narrator. It is an internal and personal PoV, where all events are filtered through the opinions and the views of the narrator.

It is also one of the PoVs that allows for easy character development as well. With this PoV though, there are three choices to keep in mind:

A) If the character doesn’t know he is narrating a story

B) If he is a conscious narrator

And

C) if they are an unreliable narrator, where his personal traits and experience might influence what he sees and how he acts and the way he colours the story.

The problem with the First Person PoV is that the reader, the audience, can only see what the narrator is seeing and experiencing. If the narrator is not included in some big event, the reader is not included either.

Second Person PoV :

You woke up to rain and wind howling outside your window.

The least common PoV of them all, it is meant to make the reader feel like he is the protagonist, like he is part of the story himself.
The problem with this PoV though is in the fact that it creates an alienation from the events and emotional distance from what is happening.

Third Person PoV :

He woke up to rain and wind howling outside his window.

The Third Person PoV is well – known and very common. It is also flexible. It allows for a variety of narrators and narrations.

Firstly, the narrator can be a character in the story, as in the First Person PoV or he can be an unspecified entity, or an uninvolved character who is simply there to tell the tale.

Subjective VS Objective

A subjective narrator is one that describes the feelings, opinions and thoughts of the protagonist, while an objective narrator only puts forth the events as they happen, untainted by the feelings and thoughts of any character.

Omniscient VS Limited

The difference between the two is simply a difference in the knowledge they have and is available to them. An Omniscient narrator knows it all, sees it all, hears it all. A Limited Narrator only knows what the character knows and sees and hears what the character sees and hears.

Alternating PoV:

Of course all different PoVs are tools and nothing more. A writer can mix and match what he likes, change between different styles of PoV and even change between PoV characters or even from First to Second to Third person PoV.

My personal favorite is Third Person Limited and Subjective but with a couple of PoV Characters to give the whole scope of the story.
What is your favorite PoV to use?

~Harris

Intro | View | Voice | Time

2 thoughts on “Narration: Point of View

  1. I prefer third party but like to follow several characters rather than be limited to just following one. Great article

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