Establishing The Best Point Of View For Your Story

A storyline will shift and change as you begin writing and dive deeper into the story. Switching your perspective and the protagonist can produce an entirely different narrative. Just imagine if Harry Potter was written in first person point of view or even from the mind of Voldemort.

While outlining a piece of writing, deciding the point of view early on in the process can impact the story’s flow. The point of view must make sense and reflect the story’s events. It wouldn’t make sense for Molly Weasley to tell the story of Harry Potter. Though, who wouldn’t mind spending some extra time inside the Weasley’s burrow?

Point of view is more than just first, second, and third person, but rather an object, idea, or outside voice helping to narrate the story. It can be something tangible or intangible, similar to how death helps to narrate The Book Thief, a Holocaust story and incredible film.

Each point of view contributes a layer to a story and the perspective chosen can tremendously impact the outcome and how invested a reader may feel in regard to the story. It isn’t always a quick, snappy decision.

My own experience with point of view has been in first and third person. First person can feel natural as you are using the pronoun “I.” This can make it feel as if you’re writing about yourself or making the character appear more personable to you. I began writing in first person point of view, but transitioned into third person omniscient in the last few years. In this perspective, I enjoyed the ability to be inside multiple minds at once and fully bring each character to the surface.

Second person point of view is less common and isn’t a perspective I know a lot about. There are writers who write in second person really well and make the point of view look easy to master.

One way to know which point of view to adopt for your story is to really think about the plot, its purpose, and how many characters are necessary. Juggling several characters where there is less sub-plot is likely to call for third person, as the protagonist will not need to be present around a specific person in order for their story to be told. There is a touch of diversity in third person. We can understand the emotions of all characters, increasing relatability.

Just because you have written one or more novels or stories in the same point of view, doesn’t mean you have to express consistency in this manner. Each story is unique, regardless of its form and content. It’s okay to write a few short stories in first person and have the next couple in third, switching back to first, and later trying second. Taking on a new perspective is beneficial, forcing you out of your comfort zone and interacting with your own work in a brand new way. It can also keep your audience eager with what’s about to come next.

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