Saturday, April 20, 2024

Point of View

For the month of April, Skye Taylor has asked us Round Robin bloggers what our favourite point of view to write and/or read is and why. What advantages might Omniscient, third-person, or first-person offer? What might be the disadvantages?

What writer doesn't love the intricacies of POV! I’m being a little facetious here because when I started writing, I found point of view to be the most challenging aspect of the craft to master. My critique partners and beta readers still pick me up on it, but I usually have it right rather than wrong these days. First, here’s a quick look at what POV is.

First person – indicated by I/me/my. Stories written in first person can create a closeness between readers and the character telling the story, but it is limited to that character. The characters must be able to portray themselves as likeable or sympathetic or risk losing the reader. Think Jayne Eyre, or Ishmael from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. If it is written well, as by my personal favourite Dick Francis, it can take the reader on a roller coaster ride.

Second person – You/your. These are often self-help books like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra’s books. Or think of any recipe you have ever read. You take 1 cup of sugar and add it to your flour. I’m sure you get the point. This point of view can not only surprise the reader but also stretch the writer’s skills because you must focus on writing it well.

Third person limited - She/he, her/his. The narrator is outside the story, relating the characters' experiences, and various characters can tell the story. I have always liked Maeve Binchy’s books as it was always clear which of her characters' points of view she was in.

Third person omniscient – She/he. The narrator tells the story through all the characters by having access to their thoughts and experiences and often has information that none of the characters know. Unless done well, this can become messy and confusing to your reader.

Regardless of the character’s point of view you write from, it is best to establish it as early in your work as possible. Sometimes, it can be from the first line, but it should be established in the first two paragraphs, giving your reader direction into your story and a solid framework from which to start.

Because I write historical and contemporary romance, my favourite point of view to read and write is that of third person limited. It is a way to broaden the scope of my stories because I can spread the plot across two or three points of view. If I want to deepen a character’s point of view, I will write a scene in first person, in longhand, which might sound laborious but works for me as I think it gives my readers a deeper, more emotional connection to that character in whatever situation I've landed them.

Now to see what my fellow bloggers have to say.


Bob Rich -

Connie Vines

Diane Bator

Helena Fairfax

Skye Taylor


  1. I agree that Omniscient can be troubling. For me, it breaks the golden rule of show don't tell because the entire thing is told from some outside narrator who knows all. I do like first person, and have a couple books now written in 1st person POV, but never considered doing it longhand. Wondering how that might influence what's in my head to what ends up on the page?

  2. Hi Victoria, that's a great point about setting up the point of view right from the opening. Readers need to know who is telling the story. I also love Maeve Binchy's books. It's a while since I read any, but you've spurred me to picking one up again.

  3. Victoria I agree. It is important to establish POV for the reader at the opening. I, too, write in longhand..