What is POV? And how do you choose the best one for your story
POV stands for Point of View, and it’s one of the most important aspects of your story that must be decided before you even start to write.
Sometimes you sit down in front of your computer, and the POV just comes to you. Other times, it takes a little bit of thought and trying our different points of view to see which best serves your novel..
Here are some examples of POVs and how to choose the best one for your story.
First Person – “Me, Myself, and I”
With first person POV, everything is told intimately from the viewpoint of a character, usually your protagonist. This entails using “I” to show readers what this character sees and thinks is the easiest way to tell a story that uses a distinct, quirky voice. It lso creates unreliable narrators, which is an interesting literary device in itself.
This is the best way to show the story from one person’s point of view because you have an individual person telling you her story directly in her own words.
If you want to show your main character either rising above or succumbing to a threat at the climax, seeing the story through his or her eyes can be very powerful.
For example, in The Catcher in the Rye, the flawed main character is shown through his own thoughts, words and views of the world and gives the reader a sense of how they see things. This is heightened by the first person POV.
Third Person Omniscient – “He, She”
This is essentially like having a God’s eye view of everything that’s happening in your novel and gives the reader a look at the world you’re creating. This is a great for when you have multiple characters, each with their own plot lines and you want to cover all bases as the story unfolds..
Third Person Limited – Still “He, She”
Grammatically speaking, this uses “he” and “she” just like the omniscient POV, but follows only one character’s viewpoint throughout the entire novel, like in Harry Potter. This means your reader sees only what the main character sees and learns things at the same time the main character does. You can show what your main character thinks, feels, and sees, which helps close the emotional distance between your reader and the main character.
. The reader sees everything that’s going on, but is limited to Harry’s point of view. We’re surprised when Harry is surprised, and we find out the resolution at the ending when Harry does, which ca create a connection with the character and serve the story.
Second Person – “You”
This style of POV isn’t frequently used. It entails addressing the reader directly.
A prime example of second person POV that’s carried off nicely is the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Written completely in second person, these books put the reader in the driver’s seat and let him or her actually choose how the story will end.
Once you know your basic structure, see what point of view best suits your works. POV is a matter of choice, but one that affects every part of your story or novel, so don’t make the decision lightly. Remember, F. Scott Fitzgerald had to rewrite The Great Gatsby because he initially wrote it in Gatsby’s voice, but it just didn’t feel right. You need to choose the point of view that best suits your story.
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