Improve Your Writing by Shifting Point of View

Have you ever thought about the writing perspective for your novel? Each person has a different writing style and part of that writing style has to do with the writing point of view you use. Today I’m teaming up with Pramika, a fellow writer on YouTube, to talk about our different preferences when it comes to writing POV’s as well as a basic grammar lesson on the different point of views. Be sure to check out Pramica’s video here!

There are three basic types of writing point of view, so before I jump into which I use, I want to explain really quick what each type is.

The Basics Types of Writing Point of View

First person– In first person, the book is written from the character’s point of view. You’ll see words like I, me, and my. This is a more contemporary way of writing and it’s seen a lot in young adult novels.

Second person– Second person is different because you don’t see it a lot. It’s used to write letters. You’re talking to someone specifically. You’ll see words like you. It’s extremely hard to write an entire novel in second person point of view, but when it is done, it can really leave a mark on your reader. One of my favorite examples is Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler.

Third person– Third person is a very traditional way of writing, but it’s also very effective. In third person, the perspective of the narrator. There are two types of third person narratives: omniscient and limited. Omniscient means the narrator is all-knowing. They know things the characters don’t know. Limited means the narrator only knows what the character knows.

My Writing POV

My first two novels were written in first person. Essence was the POV of Emma and I am Mercy was the POV of Aida de Luna. Let’s see an example from I am Mercy!

I stand up but don’t turn away, always watching the small rise and fall of each of his breaths—that unsteady, staggering pattern.

But as with every writer, your style changes and matures with you. In college, I took a creative writing course and my professor encouraged me to try out third person POV writing. She wanted me to shift my POV to stretch my writing muscles and to learn a little more about myself as a writer. I ended up writing an entire short story in third person and I loved it. There are things you can do in third person that you can’t do in first person. I can elude to things while still getting inside a character’s head. I felt like I had a lot more control. I loved third person POV so much that I decided to write my third novel in third person as well. Here’s a sneak peek:

Avery looked around in the dead night, her house a candle in the dark. The lights from the firetrucks and ambulance flashed across the neighborhood as people slipped out of their houses to see what all the commotion was. Strange faces watched from the border of the scene in fear as their neighbor’s house burned to the ground.

Why You Should Try a Different POV

As you can see from the two examples, each POV gives the story a bit of a different feel. As a writer, it may benefit from exercising your writing muscles and try to write in different writing POV. I’m not saying it will cause you to decide to shift your writing style completely, but it’s always important to try to exercise your brain and to also be a very versatile writer.

What POV do you write in? Do you think you’ll try to change up your writing POV to try something new? 

Any thoughts? Leave them below!

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