Welcome. Welcome Welcome! You have found our easy to use point of view writing guide and the bonus list of 10 POV practice prompts. These helpful writing resources will help you delve deeper into the perspective that you are writing from and what you are conveying in your writing.
Point of view plays a powerful role in any piece of writing. As you move forward into middle school and high school and beyond, the point of view that you write from and the perspective of your characters will start to take center stage.
Understanding Point of View Writing is as vital as crafting good plots when it comes to story writing. That’s because point of view (or POV) is how readers know they are getting the story from the perspective of a certain character. There are multiple points of view text structures and they can be used in various ways.
Let’s explore and learn more about them!
- What is Point of View in Writing?
- 3 Types of Point of View
- Switching Between Different Points of View
- Choosing the Point of View for Your Story
- 10 Prompts to Get You Started: Practicing Point of View
- 120 More Free Creative Writing Prompts
What is Point of View in Writing?
Whether you are crafting a poem for class, a short story for your personal collection, or you are trying to write a longer piece of fiction, you will find that your writing has a distinct point of view. The point of view in your writing is a combination of the voice and perspective from which the story is told.
One of the best parts about being the writer of any story is that you hold the power to tell the story in the way you see fit, which includes choosing the point of view. Whether you want to tell the story from the viewpoint of a single character, or you would like to explore a singular event from one character’s perspective as well as another, you can exercise creativity when it comes to point of view.
The key is to identify the point of view and carry it out effectively throughout the piece, as this allows for consistent and cohesive storytelling.
3 Types of Point of View
There are three distinct points of view and it’s important to understand each type before determining which point of view will work best for your piece:
First-Person Point of View
First-person POV is perhaps the most common point of view in fiction writing, and for good reason. It is easiest to write any story from the perspective of a first person narrator. This is an ideal choice if you are new to fiction writing, because it allows you to stick with one point of view. Typically, your story will be told from the perspective of your protagonist, or main character.
When writing in the 1st person POV, you will use first-person pronouns such as “I,” “we,” and “me,” throughout the story.
Second-Person Point of View
Second-person point of view, on the other hand, is probably the least common point of view in fiction writing. It is very challenging to write from the second person perspective, as it requires you to involve the reader directly in the work. Second person POV is filled with words like “you” and “your.” When you write in 2nd person POV, you are essentially making your reader a main character in the story.
Third-Person Point of View
Closely following first person POV, third-person POV is one of the most popular points of view in any type of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction. The third person POV is told from the perspective of a single character and includes third-person pronouns such as “he,” “she,” and “they.” When you are writing in third person, you need to be the eyes and ears of your character. You need to see the world from their perspective.
Within the third-person POV, you will find two distinct points of view:
- Third Person Limited — Third person limited requires you, as the writer, to write from the perspective of a singular character. The story is told as if you are viewing the character’s world through a camera — you only know what you can see, touch, and experience at that moment. In this perspective, you are not aware of happenings before and after the event at hand.
- Third Person Omniscient— 3rd person omniscient is less common in fiction writing and can be difficult for developing writers to tackle. In this perspective, you are able to tell the story from an all-knowing perspective. You are aware of what happened to the character before and you can anticipate what is about to come. In most cases, this perspective works best for nonfiction writing.
Switching Between Different Points of View
It is possible to switch between different points of view in your writing, but it’s important to follow a few guidelines for doing so:
- You should never change perspective within an individual scene. It is best to switch viewpoint between chapters, if you decide to do it at all.
- When you switch viewpoints, you also have to switch perspective. Try to avoid the common mistake of head-hopping, which is inadvertently giving one character knowledge that they wouldn’t have simply because you, as the writer, are aware of the other character’s perspective.
Choosing the Point of View for Your Story
Before you begin writing, actively think about the point of view that you would like to use for your story. For starters, you may want to keep it simple and tell it from the perspective of your protagonist. However, if you are up for a challenge, you can consider switching points of view within your story and trying out this technique. This is your chance to own your story and tell it in the point of view that you prefer.
10 Prompts to Get You Started: Practicing Point of View
- Think about the last novel you read. Which point of view was it written from? Write a journal entry about how you feel that point of view worked for the story.
- Write a mystery story with an omniscient narrator. The story begins with, “She didn’t know what was about to take place, but I knew. I had known it all along”.
- Craft a scene for your story in which your character’s thoughts take center stage. What factors will influence their thoughts? Consider their environment, the other characters in the book, and their viewpoint.
- Imagine that your protagonist has been surrounded by the bright lights and the romance of the big city. How might this scenery influence their perspective?
- The genre that you are writing in will influence the point of view that you choose. Which point of view do you think is best for self-help books? Write a journal entry about why you feel this way.
- Begin a short story that takes place on a winter’s night. Attempt to write it from the omniscient point of view.
- Write a first-person narrative that centers around your most embarrassing moment. Describe what that situation felt like through your own eyes.
- Begin a short story about two friends who volunteer at an animal shelter. Use third-person narration throughout the story, and remember, even animals can have perspective and voice in fiction writing.
- An unreliable narrator is a narrator who is no longer considered credible due to events that took place in the story. Try to write your own short story with an unreliable narrator as the protagonist.
- Consider an event that took place in your own life, such as a favorite vacation or your first night in a new home. Now, write a fiction story based on that event but told through third-person narration.
This point of view writing guide is just a starting point. Feel free to refer back to it as often as you need as you grow into the writer that you always knew you could be. Don’t forget, even the famed authors who wrote masterpieces such as Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, and Moby Dick had to be perfect when it came to their point of view writing. You can do it too, as long as you always keep on writing!
120 More Free Creative Writing Prompts
Until next time, write on…
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PS Check out this helpful POV resource—> Practicing Point of View Worksheet