Narrative is the way you tell your story. What point of view do you offer your reading audience? How much are you willing to reveal and how much of their understanding do want to remain a mystery? Whichever one you choose, writing narratives from a different point of view enhances your creative writing skills.

First person narrative gives me a chance to imagine how and what the character is feeling. I see life through their eyes like I’m walking around in someone else’s shoes. One writer I met said she took up smoking because her character was a smoker. I found the behavior to be a little extreme. Keep in mind you don’t have to pick up a vice because your character has one.

In my own writing journey, I’m taking my own advice and trying different POVs by paragraph within my projects. I’ll take one paragraph and rewrite it using a different POV each time. It mixes things up and gives me the opportunity to see my character or characters in a different light.

Are you not sure how you should narrate your next story? Here’s a brief overview concerning point of view.

First Person

Use the pronouns I, me, or we, us our, ours, mine. Example, “I enjoy curling up on the couch to watch a mystery.” The narrator lets you know what I’m doing.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

Second Person

Use the pronouns you, your, yours, yourself. Example, “You stand there for a moment, not sure whether or not you should turn away.” The narrator lets you know what you are doing. The narrator turns the reader into the protagonist.

The overall consensus among the writing community is not favorable when it comes to using second person POV. There aren’t as many examples using this POV in literature, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. I experimented with second person in a personal essay called The Photograph, when I found out my biological dad wasn’t my step dad. I ended up changing it to first person.

“You have friends who actually care about you and speak the language of the inner self. You have avoided them of late. Your soul is as disheveled as your apartment, and until you can clean it up a little you don’t want to invite anyone inside.” – Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

Third Person Limited

use the pronouns he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, their, theirs, and themselves. Example, “She stares at the dog growling at her from the corner of her eye and decides to bolt.” The narrator lets you know what she is doing. Third person limited narrative knows the thoughts and actions of one character throughout the story. Most stories are told through this perspective.

“He will never be able to explain how he dares to do this, but perhaps you get tired of being frightened if you’ve been frightened long enough.” ― Fredrik Backman, Beartown

Third Person Omniscient

Use the pronouns he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, their, theirs, and themselves. Third person omniscient knows and sees the inner workings of all characters.

“Vanity was stronger than love at sixteen and there was no room in her hot heart now for anything but hate.” -Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Exercise

Write a paragraph with your character having dinner with their family. Try writing the same paragraph through the lens of the different POVs mentioned in this post. Which narrative worked best for you and why?

I would love to hear from you, so please leave me a comment!

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