Point of View - First Person, Third Person, or Objective?

There are few decisions a writer can make that will have a stronger influence on their story than the choice of point of view. The point of view (POV) from which a story is told answers more than the simple question, “Who tells the story?” It determines “How much is the narrator allowed to know?” and “To what extent can the narrator perceive the characters’ thoughts and emotions and share them with the reader?”

There are four basic choices when it comes to POV:

1.) Third person omniscient

2.) Third person limited

3.) First person

4.) Objective

THIRD PERSON OMNISCIENT may appear to a writer as the simplest means of telling a story, because the reader can know the thoughts of all the characters and therefore the writer can take the reader to any scene in the story and reveal as much – or as little – of the story as needed. Unlike third person limited or first person, the writer isn’t tied to what a single character sees or experiences.

Here’s an example of a scene from the classic story Hansel and Gretel told in third person omniscient POV. Italics are used to show the places the narrator conveys knowledge of a character’s thoughts or feelings:

“Hansel walked ahead of Gretel; after all, he knew he belonged in the front because Gretel was just a girl. Gretel dropped breadcrumbs behind her as she went, knowing that her bumbling brother couldn’t be counted on to find his way home from the outhouse, let alone from the middle of the woods.

Ahead of them, an old witch waited, her stomach rumbling at the thought of what a delicious dinner the two plump children would make.

Read the rest of this post on my group blog, Let the Words Flow, by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. I always prefer Third Person Limited because it's the most commonly read and written (I think), and I'm most comfortable with it. I also like the limited POVs because it's more like a REAL person, just like you, the reader, being limited by only what you can hear, taste, smell, see, and touch. Surprises unfold to the reader as they occur to the character.