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POV part 1, first person

writing tips

By Amethyst ChampagnePublished 3 years ago Updated 10 months ago 3 min read
POV part 1, first person
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

So, now that you have an idea about what you want to do with your story, it’s time to figure out which POV, or point of view, to use.

What is POV?

So, what is point of view?

It is the perspective from which you tell the story. There are three main types: first person, third person, and second person.

For this post, I’ll discuss first-person, which is I/me/my. Many books, including children, YA, adult, sci-fi, fantasy, and even nonfiction, use this POV type.

However, there are several variations of first-person: limited, multiple, peripheral, unreliable, and omniscient.

First-Person Limited

First up is first-person limited, in which you only read one character’s point of view, usually the main character. It’s the type you see most with first-person stories.

The biggest advantage to this one is that the writer and narrator are the same, providing the reader with an inside look into the character’s mind and making the experience personal.

The only problem with this is that you are locked into that one mind, so you can’t explore anything outside that character’s knowledge.

First-Person Multiple

This leads me to first-person multiple, where you have the POVs of multiple characters in the same story, but with the same I/me/mine, so you have the same level of intimacy with the characters as limited.

Now, this one is a little trickier because you have to make each character’s voice distinct throughout the story, and you want to make it clearly defined when you switch characters so you don’t confuse the reader or yourself.

Each character also must have their own story within the main plot since you have more than one MC. Their subplots always relate to the main, but you find out interesting details about each character you might not know otherwise.

I’ve seen this done well and done willy-nilly. My tip is that if you do end up using this one, don’t include random characters whose POV will only be seen once. It’s annoying to read, and you can find another way to get the information across.

Personally, I’m not a fan of this one since all the I’s can make it somewhat confusing to read, especially if there are more than two POVs. I think it’s just easier to write in third-person, but I’ll go into detail about that later.

First-Person Peripheral

Although you may be used to having the narrator and the main character being the same person, it isn’t always the case, first-person peripheral.

Now, this one isn’t prevalent, but the famous book, The Great Gatsby, is mainly told by Nick, who is not the main character.

It’s a good way to show how the protagonist can be blind to events by seeing things through the eyes of another character whom the consequences also affect.

But don’t think they are just shadows hovering around the main character. They have their own lives, too, and the story has to reflect that.

First-Person Unreliable

Even though I have never written like this, I find the concept of first-person unreliable interesting, especially since no POV is exactly reliable in the first place.

From what I understand, it’s when the MC tells the story in a manner so you can’t be sure if they are telling the truth or not, and it makes the reader create two versions of the truth.

But it’s not one that just any writer can do successfully. I’m not sure I could ever do it, but who knows?

First-Person Omniscient

Okay, brace yourself for this last one. For a long time, I didn’t even know this one existed, but apparently, first-person omniscient is a thing that looks into everybody’s head at some point. I have no idea how this one works, considering the I/me/my.

How to Write First-Person Effectively

But no matter which one you choose, you must keep the character or characters consistent. You can’t have a character be happy-go-lucky one day and then depressed the next without rhyme or reason.

So, my tip to help prevent this is to be in a calm mood whenever you’re writing in first-person.

How you, the writer, are feeling can inflict a tone in a section of the story you may regret later if you feel an extreme emotion while writing.

I encourage you to try at least one and decide your preference.

Until then, keep writing.


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Amethyst Champagne

I create fiction, short stories, poetry, and more!

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