Today I want to talk about something I’ve been dealing with in my novel lately — POV, which stands for Point of View.
If you write you know all about the POV issue —
- what are the different kinds of POV?
- what are the Pros and Cons of each POV?
- and how do I know which POV is best for me?
Here’s what we know so far. There are quite a few POVs — 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person limited, 3rd person omniscient, multiple, unreliable, omniscient, head-hopping, and probably others I haven’t even thought of.
I won’t go into the pros and cons of each POV in detail, except to say you can figure out what they might be based on the name of the POV.
For example, when you use 1st person in a story you’re limited to showing only those things your narrator can see. That’s a con. However, when you use 1st person the reader is right there with your character, in the story. Boom. Instant reader involvement. That’s a pro.
So how do you choose which POV to use? And what damn difference does it make?
I’m glad you asked.
Choosing a POV involves a lot more than reviewing the pros and cons and then picking one. It’s more subtle and personal than that. You have to do all that, sure, but then you need to figure out how your character wants to tell the story, and then decide how you feel about that. Does she want a little space, but is still glad you came along? Try 3rd person limited. Is he okay being the star, but he doesn’t necessarily want you to know every damned detail because secrets? Unreliable.
And then how do you, the writer, feel about all this? Do you think your 3rd person limited character has too much energy for that POV? Maybe let her loose in 1st person.
As for what difference does it make which POV you use — don’t forget everything in your story is conveyed to the reader through your POV. If the one you choose isn’t the right one for your story, you could end up with a confused or dissatisfied reader.
And nobody wants one of those!
Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts on POV in the comments section.