Choosing the Best POV for Your Story

One of the most important questions you will ask yourself before you start your story is what point of view (POV) should I use?  Point of view is the perspective from which you write your story.  The POV you choose to write your story will have great impact on the power of your story. 

Basically, there are four points of view:

  1. Omniscient. This is the point of view in which the narrator (or author) of the story knows everything that is going on in every character’s life. 
  2. First Person. This is the point of view of view in which the author uses the personal pronoun I to write the story.
  3. Second Person. This point of view uses the personal pronoun you to write the story.  It is a rarely used POV and not very popular among readers.
  4. Third Person. This is the most common POV.  It is written using the pronouns he and she. 

Third Person POV is further subdivided into regular third person and limited third person.  Regular third person is most often used in plot-driven stories where action is secondary to characterization.  Limited third person POV, also known as deep POV, is currently the most popular of all points of view. 

Next time, we will discuss deep POV:  what it is, what it does, and how to use it.

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2 thoughts on “Choosing the Best POV for Your Story

  1. Choosing a POV also depends on what age you are writing for. When writing for children (picture books) it’s essential to keep one POV. No switching. Ever.

    Chapter books (ages 7-9) should also stay in one POV. You *might* be able to get away with another POV in a new chapter, but it’s probably best to stick with the protagonist’s POV.

    Middle grade and upper middle grade (ages 12 and up) are fine for changing POV, but it needs to be in a definite scene break or new chapter.

    CBA tends to stay away from omniscient POV, as far as I know. The general market is a total free-for-all.

    Sometimes it depends on the genre. Omniscient POV is quite prevalent in fantasy. Personally, I stay away from it. My YA fantasy novel has several POVs, but I keep them separate and clearly defined.

    And sometimes, the story is best told from one person’s POV. I have a middle grade novel where I’m sticking with only one POV so far. I’ll know better the further in I get.

    I’m interested in deep POV, MaryAnn. I’m not familiar with that.
    June 7, 2011 at 10:03 AM