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Imperfect Love

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby...

Rebecca Talley

Point of View Part 2

In the previous article you learned about Omniscient POV and 1st Person POV. Now it’s time to learn more about POV.

2nd Person POV

This is rarely used because it requires the writer to use “you.” A short story might work in 2nd Person POV, but a longer work would become tedious and hard to read if the writer constantly used “you.”

For example, “You walked down the path and suddenly realized someone was following you. You darted toward the forest, hoping you’d lose your unwelcome companion. You breathed heavily as you ran between the trees.” See how awkward that sounds? That’s the reason 2nd Person POV isn’t used much.

3rd Person POV

This is a popular POV to use. It includes using “he,” “him,” “she,” and “her.” The story is told through one character’s eyes but all the references are in third person. You can also use a tight or loose 3rd Person POV—think of it as a camera, a tight POV would be a close-up, while a loose POV would be pulling the camera back and taking in more of the details. You can have immediacy and intimacy with 3rd Person, but not as much as with 1st Person.

Multiple POV

You can also use more than one character’s POV (but you must keep all the POV in the same person—i.e. 1st or 3rd .You can’t mix 1st and 3rd). For example, if you’re writing a mystery you’d want most scenes in the police investigator’s POV, told through her eyes—what she can hear, smell, taste, think, and feel. But, to create more tension you might want to include some scenes from the perpetrator’s POV, allowing readers to know his sinister plot thus creating anxiety for the reader. If you’re writing a romance you may want equal scenes in the man’s POV and the woman’s POV, especially if you want readers to know things the characters don’t know.

Be careful if you use multiple POV and make sure it’s always clear to the readers whose head they are in. The last thing you want to do is create confusion for your reader. Generally, you can change POV after a scene or chapter break. (If you’re changing POV within sentences or paragraphs, you are either using POV incorrectly or you are using Omniscient POV).

The bottom line is to use the POV that best suits your story. Play with different options and find the POV that shows your story in the most compelling way. Then write it clearly for your readers.

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