Point Of Views (POVs)

Point Of View, casually known as POV, is one of  the most important literary devices that is used in fiction writing. Determining the perspective from which the story is told is often the making or the breaking point of a novel.

If you make a wrong decision, your readers will be highly disappointed due to lack of plot coherence, and not only this, choosing the wrong POV also affects the bonding between the main characters and the reader, thus, affecting your novel on the whole. But if the point of view is chosen well, the readers will not only love your story and develop a memorable relationship with your characters but will also respect your writing and look forward to reading your other works.

Hence, it won’t be wrong to say that the choice of point of view and its execution shows the writer’s ability, efficiency, and dedication to their story. And in order to make the right choice you need to have an in-depth and precise knowledge about all the POVs before settling on one (or more) for your story.

Definition:

Point of View aka POV is the perspective from which a story is told. Point Of View is what can be called as the voice that tells the story to a reader.

Following are the 3 types of Point Of Views (POVs):

First Person Point Of View

In First Person POV, the narrator is a character himself/herself. The story unfolds as a first-hand experience of the narrator or it can be said that the character is narrating the story.
The information is unreliable as its scope is limited depending entirely on the main character’s knowledge of/in any situation. For instance, if the character is delusional then it creates a problem if you’ll write the entire book from his perspective.

The First Person POV has recently garnered a lot of popularity as a lot of new authors are using it. The advantages of First Person POV is that the reader can relate to the main character quite easily and the bond that follows is very strong. But of course, it requires a high level of expertise to pull it off.

The pronouns used in First Person POV are – I, me and mine.

Types of First Person POV:

  1. First Person Central POV: When the story is told from the point of view of the main character it is known as the First Person Central POV. This helps in developing an intimate bond between the main character and the reader. It often includes internal monolog, personal feelings, etc, which help in making the reader understand the main character inside-out.
  2. First Person Peripheral POV: When the story is told from the point of view of a secondary or a minor character, who can also be an observer, is known as First Person Peripheral POV. This POV is detached and neutral and provides an objective look at the main character.

Popular books written in First Person POV:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Penryn And The End Of Days Series by Susan Ee
Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Second Person Point Of View

In Second Person POV, the narration is addressed from one person to the second person.

The disadvantage of this POV is that it is difficult to relate to. It is a form of direct speech and the narrator or the character refers directly to the reader as “you.”

The Second Person POV is rarely used in fiction-writing, though there are some authors who use it for writing their novels.  It is mostly used for instructional writing and how-to books.

The pronouns used in Second Person POV are – You, your.

Popular books written in Second Person POV:

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino
You by Caroline Kepnes
All The Truth that's In Me by Julie Berry
Booked by Kwame Alexander
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Third Person Point Of View

Third Person POV is the point of view in which a narrator (generally, the one who is not part of the story) tells the story.

This is one of the most widely used POV and most of the early literature and classic novels are written in this POV. A lot of contemporary writers still believe that only the stories written in Third Person POV are good, but of course, it’s their personal opinion.

The Third person POV helps the readers understand the main characters from a distance and many believe that this is what makes it so interesting and capturing.

The pronouns used in Third Person POV: He, she, it, him, her, they, them, its. 

Types of Third Person POV:

  1. Third Person Omniscient POV: Omniscient = All-knowing. In Third Person Omniscient POV the narrator knows and reveals the feelings, thoughts, and/or motivations of all the characters (at least partially.)
    Eg. Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman.
  2. Third Person Limited POV: In Third Person Limited POV the narrator knows and reveals the feelings, thoughts, and/or motivations of only a single character, the main character.
    Eg. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling.
  3. Third Person Objective/Dramatic POV: In Third Person Objective POV the narrator knows and reveals no feelings, thoughts and/or motivations of any of the characters. Rather, the narrator reveals only the facts and details about the story.
    Eg. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Popular books written in Third Person POV:

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Watch my video podcast on POVs:

If you have any doubt regarding POVs or want to share your experiences or anecdotes then please leave a comment below.

Further Reading:

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22 Comments on “Point Of Views (POVs)

  1. Love this post on POV, Heena. As you said, I find using second person the least, even in my non-fiction writing. It can sound accusatory especially if I’m talking about a sensitive topic like multiculturalism.

    First person is something I like to use in both fiction and non-fiction when I feel they my experiences are relatable. That way I hope to put readers’ perspective into my shoes and hopefully they see what I see 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mabel. Your comments always make me feel good about my posts 🙂

      You’re so right about the second person voice sounding accusatory at times. I can understand how that would have the wrong effect on the readers, especially while writing on a sensitive topic such as culture and ethnicity.
      And ditto, I also love using the first person voice.

      Thanks a lot for reading this post, dear. It’s always good to hear from you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Someday, I am going to print out all your blog posts, bind it, and place it on my desk! I can see myself looking it up frequently and I would be so enamored by them that I may just as well forget what I was originally referring it for. I am grateful for finding this blog! Sigh!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a huge compliment, Clare. Thank you! I hope I’ll be able to live up to your and all the other reader’s expectations in my future posts on writing as well 🙂
      I’m very glad that you found this post informative. If you ever need any help or have questions on writing you know where to find me 🙂

      My publisher’s been behind me for writing a book on Writing (as a craft) and it’s techniques for quite a while. I think I’ll be starting working on my non-fic on writing next year. I’m planning to make it a series on Writing so hopefully you’ll find that too helpful 🙂

      Thanks and have a great day, dear 🙂
      XoXo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I am excited that you are considering on making it a book. You are a gifted fiction writer, no doubt. But you are also an unbeatable teacher. Your instructions, examples and tips are the best I have ever read. You have taught me more than I ever expected to learn of the craft of writing. Please please keep doing this!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m so happy that you feel this way, Clare. And I’m really giddy with joy right now that you find my articles to be so helpful. Thanks a lot for all your kind words, dear.
          And I will definitely keep on doing this, for sure 🙂
          Have a beautiful day!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an excellent post…. I didn´t know about second POV… and thought of a book which could illustrate it… it is called “Paula” and was written by Isabel Allende. (author of the well known book “Eva Luna”)… basically it adresses a sort of continuous letter to her daughter, who has cancer… It is a very moving reading by this chilean author…
    Wonderful explanation, dear Heena… Sending love & best wishes. Aquileana 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: 10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story | Heena Rathore P.

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