A while back, I posted on point of view (POV), a primer on what it’s all about and the basic navigation principles for mucking about with it. Read it here, and come back to this post, so you’ll have some grounding if POV trips you up sometimes.
As I said in that post, POV is about which characters’ heads you will enter in order to tell the story and how closely identified the narrator is with the POV. Thus if you’re using “I” to identify the person who is thinking, then the narrator is very immediate and you’re using the first person POV. If using “he/she,” you have stepped back a tiny bit in emotional distance and you’re using third person POV. (This does not diminish the emotional impact you can have. It’s the difference, say, between hearing a tale whispered in your ear or told around a campfire.) To me, there is a slightly voyeuristic aspect to the first person POV (using “I.”) It’s almost like reading a diary.
Note: when the third person POV ranges across several characters, sometimes it’s called the limited omniscient POV, meaning, really, the third person POV spread around.
The best point of view
Do you want your book to feel like a diary? Do you need more than one POV? I dunno. There is no better or best POV. Look carefully at your favorite books, and those most similar to yours. What do readers expect? What is traditional and comforting to your core audience? And once you know that, ask yourself, what suits your story best regardless of custom? Read More…