Choosing the right point of view for your story

Most people have their preferred point of view when it comes to writing.

Choosing the right point of view for your story - Storymakers

It helps to understand each method though and today, I have a guest post written by Isobel, to explain the different points of view and how to use them.

Isobel is one of the Young Writers and she’s in Year 9.

Point of view matters a lot. It determines who the readers are meant to empathise with, who we see the story from, what key points we experience. But how do I, a budding author, decide which point of view to use in my story? Fear not, because here’s my Point Of View 101 Course!

1st Person
We’ll start off with something simple: who is telling the story? First person is most commonly used in children’s fiction, but is also found in several classical novels e.g, David Copperfield, The Woman In Black and Huckleberry Finn. It’s when you tell your story like it’s a personal account, using the pronouns I and We. This type of writing is often used to help the reader experience a world properly, and for this reason it’s also used heavily in teen dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games and Divergent. You can be really chatty and informal with this perspective, but make sure to actually tell the story and not get distracted rambling about little things your character finds annoying!

2nd Person
The 2nd Person is rarely used in fiction, and indeed in overall stories. When you use the second person, you talk using You (singular) and You (plural), and you tell the story through narration as if you are by the character’s side. This Point Of View is most heavily seen in Choose Your Own Adventure games and Text Adventures online. You won’t see this much in traditional fiction, but it’s just as useful as any other point of view, and it has its uses.

3rd Person (Open)
The third person open is a literary technique in which the author tells us what is going on in every character’s head. This can be found in many novels, such as Swallows And Amazons, Little Women and A Series Of Unfortunate Events. The author can choose to use this if they want to use multiple characters to to tell a dynamic story. Go and read the first A Series Of Unfortunate Events book, and anyone will tell you that each character has their own arc, and when all of those arcs collide, readers get to see how each character’s actions, feelings and impulses contribute to the greater story.

3rd Person (Closed)
Third person closed is most commonly found in children’s books, such as The Enchanted Wood, The BFG, or The Twits. It’s when you tell a story of using on one character, and the author tells that story without delving into how other characters in the book feel about things. Sometimes this can feel detached, especially in older books, but other times it can be brilliant for surprise reveals, like in The Witches, when it’s revealed that the lady on the platform is indeed, The Grand High Witch.

And that’s point of view! Each of these perspectives can be used in many different forms, with variations depending on the time it was written, the characters the story focuses on or even the author’s own style. So just remember, every Point Of View can have a story, but not every story has the potential to use every Point Of View.

Thank you, Isobel.

Once you’ve decided on a point of view, you can refer to this blog to help you choose the right starting sentence for your story.

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