Point of View

Fiction is usually written in first or third person point of view.

First person point of view

“I tasted blood.”

Advantage:

  • extremely immersive

Disadvantage:

  • reader can only know what the POV character knows (this is usually the protagonist) – the reader is subjected to the extremely biased way the POV reports an event
  • reader can only see what the POV character sees

Third person point of view

“He tasted blood.”

Third person has a lot of grey area when it comes to execution. Since the beholder is outside of the main character, there is a lot of freedom in what is known and witnessed.

Advantages:

  • Freedom to explore scenes that happen when the main character isn’t there to witness it happen.
  • reader can ‘know’ things that the main character doesn’t or can’t know
  • freedom to show how more than one character experiences the same event by eavesdropping on their thoughts and emotions

Disadvantages:

  • easy to fuck up by inconsistency
  • less immersive
  • A lot! of showing required. Very little ‘telling’ allowed.

Fully Omniscient

Narrator has full access to all there is to know about the world including full access to every thought and emotion of every character.

disadvantage:

  • don’t jump from head to head too often or you’ll give the reader a whiplash
  • reader can easily become confused about who’s mind they’re eavesdropping on if any character is fair game to the narrator

Limited

Narrator experiences the story from outside the POV character but the narration focuses on telling his particular experience.

disadvantages:

  • not a lot of head hopping options

Showing if the PoV character was aware of something or not

Use ‘a’ when noticing something for the first time. Use ‘the’ when the PoV character already knew the object was there.

Example:

A chair stood against the door. (noticed)
The box stood on the table. (known)