Point of View Basics

One of the most important elements of writing is point of view (pov). Writers need to understand what the benefits and drawbacks of each pov are in order to properly choose how to write their stories. Most writers tend to let the story speak for itself, and this almost always works, but in the revision stage, it’s important to know how to make your chosen pov shine.

What is Point of View?

Pov is the relationship between the narrator and the story. Every story is narrated; sometimes a character will tell the story, sometimes an unknown voice will speak, sometimes the story will jump between different characters or between characters and omniscience. But there is always a clear voice telling the story, and that is the narrator. The pov describes how this voice is related to the story: is the voice inside one of the characters, or observing from a distance? How much information is the voice giving the readers? What do we, the readers, know about the story given the style of narration?

Depending on the answers and the writing style, you’ll end up with first person, second person, third person, or some combination. Pov can be further broken down into limited versus omniscient and close versus distant.

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