As fiction writers, we know that there are primarily three points of view (POV) in storytelling. There is an additional point of view that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention. As a publisher, I would be intrigued if an author approached me with a manuscript that used the 4th point of view. Let’s explore them all!
- First Person– a point of view that is told from the protagonist’s perspective in the story through the use of the pronoun, “I.” The character is in the story relating his or her experiences directly.
Example, “I am not pretty.” “I am not beautiful.” “I am as radiant as the sun.”
-The Hunger Games
- Second Person-like first person, second person is told from the protagonist’s perspective, however, using the pronouns “you,” “yours,” and “your.” This POV is common in non-fiction but is not as common in fiction.
Example, “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood, and self, and purpose.”
-The Night Circus
- Third Person Limited– is told by an unnamed narrator who is not part of the story or plot. When referring to a person, place, idea, or thing, the writer uses he, she, or it. The narrator is outside of the story and relating the experiences of a character.
Example, “What’s that?” he snarled, staring at the envelope Harry was still clutching in his hand.
-Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
The 3 POV’s above are the most common, but there is another point of view that can also be used! It is:
- Third Person Omniscient-The story is still about “he” or “she,” but the narrator has full access to the thoughts and experiences of all characters in the story. This pov is most associated with 19th-century novels and is told from an “all knowing” perspective.
Example, “Shall you wear them in company?” said Celia, who was watching her with real curiosity as to what she would do.
‘Dorothea glanced quickly at her sister. […] “Perhaps,” she said, rather haughtily. “I cannot tell to what level I may sink.”
So there you have it, all four types of narration, which will you choose for your work?