Fiction Writers Learn What They Need to Know to Create Great Fiction – Understand the Issue of Point of View (POV) and Write Fiction with Excellence –

Authors choose the point of view (POV) that works best for their stories. Understand the POV issue and tell your story skillfully from the best point of view for its presentation. As a result, you will produce clear and understandable fiction.

blue eyePersonally, I didn’t know anything about POV when I began writing my novel, Buddy for David. When I heard about this issue, I searched my manuscript diligently to determine what POV I had used, hoping I would not find confusion caused by flipping from one POV to another. I found that I had written in the Third Person Omniscient point of view. 

Don’t feel there is no hope for a writer with a lot to learn about the craft of writing fiction. Learn as you write. Practice as you revise and rewrite.

BASIC EXPLANATION OF POINT OF VIEW (POV)

Point of View Example Function
First Person I watched my neighbor leave his doorway. I was convinced that he was headed to the same place I’d seen him go each morning for a week. The protagonist, or another character, tells or reveals the story from his or her own perspective, limited by his or her own personal experience and possibly biased or erroneous knowledge. Notice use of the pronoun I.
Third Person Omniscient Cindy’s neighbor left his doorway, feeling very insecure, headed for a secret meeting with seven dangerous conspirators at a little known restaurant in downtown Chicago. Story told by an all-knowing narrator that may reveal anything or everything, including thoughts and feelings of any or all the characters. Notice that information flows in abundance from this omniscient perspective.
Third Person Limited Cindy’s neighbor left his doorway. She assumed he was heading for the same place she had watched him go each morning for a week. The story unfolds via the perspective of one, two, three, or several characters, each one limited by his or her own experience and possibly biased or erroneous personal knowledge.
Second Person You watched your neighbor leave his doorway. This point of view is rarely used in fiction.

As a reader, is there one point of view that you prefer above others?

Is there a point of view that you prefer as a writer?

Each point of view has its advantages and disadvantages in developing a story. A point of view that suits an author’s writing style and supports a strong presentation of the story is a powerful combination for successful writing.

For more information on POV, here is a link to a blog entitled Men with Pens. Read this excellent post: Fiction Writing: What’s Your Point of View?

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About Carol Ann Hoel

The new me - Carol Ann. More suitably said, the old me in new circumstances of life. Again. My history has developed in parts and chapters. In person, I am Wife, Mom, Grandma, Author, and Writer, in that order, more or less. Life is good because God is good.
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6 Responses to Fiction Writers Learn What They Need to Know to Create Great Fiction – Understand the Issue of Point of View (POV) and Write Fiction with Excellence –

  1. jannatwrites says:

    Great breakdown of POV! I don’t have a preference in reading a POV, as long as it’s a good story! When I write, POV is kind of determined by the story. I usually use either first person or third person limited. (I also like to play with tense… usually I do past, but sometimes I like present tense so the story unfolds as it’s being read, rather than reading about what happened after the fact.

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    • I have a favorite author that uses first person, Sue Grafton. She writes her Kinsey Millhone detective series in first person, past tense. Like you, I will read a good story regardless of the tense or person the author uses. Present tense is fascinating. I have to watch myself in present tense. I tend to slip out of it into the past. Thanks for your comment. Blessings to you, Janna…

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  2. pattisj says:

    Past tense seems to flow easily. I have to keep the action up to speed. I agree, any POV, as long as it’s a good story.

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    • Yes, past tense flows better for me, too. I stumble on present tense, probably because I’m not accustomed to using it. If I had a persuasive reason, I’d learn to use it. I like reading first person point of view, but I’m not sure I could write it. Blessings to you, Patti…

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  3. Laura Best says:

    I’d say I prefer first person when reading and writing, but it really all depends upon the story. I think a good story will work regardless of the POV. It’s probably more of a personal preference, that and it seems as though different stories require different POV’s. I think the one you used for your book worked well for that particular story. I’m curious as to whether or not you have a preference when it comes to writing.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Laura. I must read your new book, since I liked your first one so much. I am excited thinking about writing another novel. I was comfortable with third person omniscient, which, for my story worked very well, as you said. I would like to try another POV, just for the fun of it, but it remains to be seen how well another POV will work for me. As you point out, the needs of the story must be considered. It’s all fun, isn’t it, Laura? Writing is the easy part. That market stuff is driving me crazy. (Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Let’s see. Oh, I love it! Is that better?) Blessings to you, Laura…

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