Writing Tips & Advice
Point of View
'Point of view' (POV) specifies through whose eyes the story is being told.

First person - When you write using I, we, me, mine and my, the story is being told by the protagonist (central
character) in first person.

    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my
    purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the
    watery part of the world.   Opening line of Moby Dick by Herman Melville written in first person.

Second person - Probably the rarest writing mode is second-person narrative, in which the narrator turns the
reader (you) into a character.

    You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer;
    but that ain't no matter. —Opening line from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain written in
    second person.

Third person - Most novels are written in third person narrative mode using he, she, it, and they.

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of
    foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was
    the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.  Opening line from A Tale
    of Two Cities by Charles Dickens written in third person.

The reason most novels are written in third person is because 1) it is arguably the easiest style in which to
write, 2) it tends to be more objective, 3) it gives the writer more freedom to introduce information, 4) the narrator
knows everything there is to know about the characters, and 5) it keeps the focus on the protagonist and what
he/she knows, feels and experiences.

But there's more to know about third person.  There's third person limited where the narrator knows only the
thoughts and feelings of a single character.  In other words, the reader will not know more than the main
character.  And then there's third person omniscient where the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all
the characters.

Writing with multiple POV’s appears to be acceptable by most experts if done properly and if it is indeed
necessary to the story.  If the switch isn’t done effectively, the reader will become confused.  My advice for first-
time writers is to stick to one POV.
The following sentence exemplifies a confusing change in POV.

    Winnie’s stomach lurched the moment she saw him, but Harold’s excitement was hard to contain when she split from the crowd
    and walked in his direction.  

Winnie is the protagonist, so how would she know that Harold was excited at the thought of meeting her.  That would be getting inside
his head, not hers.

The most important rule is to be consistent.  Once you pick a POV, stick with it throughout the entire manuscript.

A very good article on POV by C. S. Lakin is
http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/05/06/whose-head-point-of-view-in-fiction/.



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