Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Choose the Right Point of View

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I've seen a lot of first person PoV these days. I agree that it works best for some stories, but I can't help wondering if people are over using it. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like writers tend to go straight to first person because they think it's the easiest or the simplest PoV to write. There are some good arguments for it:
  1. Thoughts: It's really easy to show your MC's thoughts (though you have to be careful you don't fall into info-dumping).
  2. Twists & Surprises: It's (arguably) easier to spring plot twists and surprises on your MC because you only have to give the reader one side of events. Just make sure there are enough clues to justify the reveal, otherwise you're just toying with your readers and they won't appreciate it.
  3. Character development: It's easier to get readers to connect with the MC because they're getting every thought and emotion as the character experiences it.
All that being said, I've never been able to write first person myself. I find it too restricting for what I want to do. I prefer a third person limited point of view; it allows me to get into one characters head but doesn't necessarily limit me to what that character sees and hears throughout the whole story. I like to give glimpses of what's going on elsewhere in the story so my readers can get more of a sense of convergence. I think this creates more tension and suspense  in the story.

Anyway, what do you all think? What's your favorite point of view?


    1. I don't really have a favorite pov. I've written both close third and first person, and I think it depends on the type of story you're writing. I think first person tends to be popular because you can get even closer to the character than you can with close third person. But like you said, it has its own limitations. I think each pov is good for different reasons, and I think each one has its own drawbacks. I usually decide on mine in the planning stage, when I decide what kind of story I'll be writing.

    2. I admit, I write first person. It's just the PoV that I connect with. It comes easiest to me. I like to read in that PoV as well. I feel closer to the character and can connect with them better. That said, I also agree that third person can add more layers. Great post :)