What’s in a POV

You may have an all-star cast of characters for your story–and I hope you do–but you must still choose a leading role, a single character to speak.

“But why,” you ask.

“Because I said so; because that’s the way it’s done.  Because it is natural for most people to hear only one voice inside their heads—their own.  When you write, you are inviting the reader to step inside another psyche.  Hearing multiple voices or suddenly switching from one voice to another voice sounds crazy and chaotic to them.”

After you have chosen a character—let’s call him Ricky—you can tell me every delicious thing that Ricky is doing, saying and thinking.  You may tell me what Ricky hears and sees other characters do and say and his thoughts on their actions, but you can not tell me what they are thinking.

For instance, if Ricky gets up and walks out of the room, you can not tell me what his mother and father are saying at the kitchen table.  Unless, of course, ole sneaky Ricky is lurking about the hallway and over hears the conversation.

“But what if I want to kill Ricky off in the middle of the story?” you ask.

“Well, there are ways to handle that situation without discombobulating your reader.”

If you are writing a short story:

Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky RickyRicky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky Ricky.

Ricky dies.




Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary Mary…..

Note;  If you’re writing a book and want to switch the Point of View character, just start a new chapter.

Firsst Person

First person is I.  The Hero.  This is great if you want to go deep inside the mind of the character.  Note:  Must be someone who firmly believes they know what’s happening.

Second Person:

The second person is you.  Very hard to stay in form.


You know you’re going to have a bad day when you wake up and the bed is wet.  You wonder why it’s wet, and then you see the cat.

Third Person Limited

That’s where Ricky lives through the whole story and the POV never changes.

Third Person, Multiple Vision

Used for longer pieces, novels.  After all, if you’re writing a book, it would get boring to hear from only one person.  Start a new chapter when switching from one POV to another.

Third Person, Subjective:

The reader is told what the characters are thinking, without any direct quotes.


When Bart takes me out to dinner tonight, everything will be perfect.  After dessert, he’ll take my hand and ask me to marry him.  I’ll giggle and politely say, no.  Won’t he be surprised?

Third Person,  Objective

A case of just giving the facts.  As if a bystander were telling the story.  The reader is never allowed into anyone’s head.  No emotions, no feelings. The reader has to judge what the characters are feeling by their actions.

The writer must reveal everything about the story (background, characterization, conflict, theme, etc) through dialogue and action.  This objective form is suppose to be use in journalism.

Third Person,  Omniscient

This one breaks the rules of POV.  We’re in all the characters’ heads all of the time, and we know what they’re all thinking at any given time.  VERY OLD FASHION AND REQUIRES A GRAND MASTER.  You will note that these books are quite heavy when you pick them up.

Epistolary Form:

Letters, journals, and e-mails


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