Point of View

One of the most important things we have to decide when writing is the point-of-view (POV). The most important thing to consider when deciding the POV is deciding your main character and if secondary characters also want to show their point-of-view. This is especially true in romance, many of the stories are written from the viewpoint of the two main love interests usually in third person. Although I have read a few that are in the first person. Just remember to stay consistent throughout the book. (But even then there are exceptions to the rule such as American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis, which starts in first person and ends in third).

First person POV is limited to what the main character can see and feel. This is especially great for emotional connection to a character and individual character growth. The third person POV can be more flexible and doesn’t depend on staying on one character throughout the entire book. For third person try to keep a limit on the number of POVs in one scene because the reader can become confused on who is thinking and doing what in the scene if the POV keeps changing too much.

The character’s POV also has to do with your character’s reveal. The POV can explain characters personality traits such as confidence levels and what is important. Do you want the reader to know everything up front or do you want your reader to slowly learn about your character in phases as the story progresses? I have mixed feelings on this. Honestly, it has to do with the writer.

In my experience, I find I get bored when information is poured into me in the beginning of the story. I just want the story to get started. But remember readers are all different and some prefer the details of the characters and plot placed for them in the beginning. If you can keep your reader interested while you spill out all your character’s information, I say more power to you. Remember this also has to do with your character. If they are the type to lay it all out on the line then do a reveal in the beginning. If they are more the type to get the action started and explain later than start with action.

Remember this is your character’s story and they have a way of telling you how they want their story told. So choose a POV and keep writing.



About Infinity

I was born and raised in Colorado. I have a Master's degree in Psychology and several years experience in coaching, writing and graphic design. View all posts by Infinity

4 responses to “Point of View

  • Theo Fenraven

    Telling everything about the character right away is called “info dump,” and is discouraged by editors. I’m an editor.

    You want to tell just enough to hook the reader, and then let out more, a little bit at a time, as the story unfolds.

    I’d also like to add one more thing, and I can’t stress this enough: when PoV is clear, please do not write things like “Sally watched Ellis stride manfully across the room” or “Sally felt tremors go through her.” It should be “Ellis strode manfully across the room” and “Tremors went through her.” The reader knows this is being told from Sally’s PoV and does not have to be constantly reminded (beat over the head) with it.

    Writing like this identifies you as someone who has a lot to learn.

    • Tabatha Heart

      This is great advice! You make a valid point by advising away from the information dump, I like stories that start in the action but there are a few, especially horror writers, that start out the story a little slower building characters before starting into the story.
      Also thank you for the editing tip about readers already knowing the POV! This is very true and great advice especially for novice writers such as myself!

      • Theo Fenraven

        You’re welcome. 🙂 I’m glad you took it in the spirit with which I offered it.

        If anyone wants a list of things NOT to do as a beginning writer, they can visit my blog and search on “Writers Writing Badly.” We’ve all done it, and in time, we all get better, but why not get a head start?

    • Tabatha Heart

      I greatly appreciate your advice! You put together a great list for writers! Thank you for sharing!

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