|Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird
In first person, the book is told directly by the main character:
I am a dragon. I entertain people. That is my destiny.
In second person, the story is presented as if the reader is the main character:
You get dresses, you eat breakfast, you go wrestle a dragon---it's all in a day's work.
In third person, the main character is referred to by name:
Petra wondered at this for a moment. "Really? Is it possible that a dragon could be turned into a frog? "
First Person Narrative
First person point of view instantly connects the reader with the main character, but often results in too much "telling" and not enough "showing."
In the First person point of view, it is difficult to write about the physical description of the main character. In older writings writer's reverted to the "looked in the mirror" description, which is shunned in modern writing.
First person point of view does allow the humor and thoughts of the main character to come through and the reader connects more readily with the main character.
Second Person Narrative
Second Person point of view is the least used form of writing books. Second person P.O.V. is difficult to maintain throughout a whole book and can produce awkward prose. This point of view is best used in blog posts.
Third Person Narrative
Third Person P.O.V. is the most common form of narration.
--Third person restricted has nearly as much closeness with the main character as first person but it is easier to avoid too much telling. The challenge to third person restricted is to keep the views only of the main character and not getting into and telling the thoughts of other characters.
One challenge with third person restricted is limiting the story to scenes where the main character is present. This often requires creative plotting; to write the scenes around the main character. But doing so usually works out better than switching viewpoint characters. Switching viewpoint characters can and is done, but the difficulty of sustaining alternative views is that the reader can get lost within the different character's identities.
--Third Person omniscient is the rarest form of writing because it tends to obscure the main character. This type of P.O.V. knows all, and the writer reads into the thoughts of both minor and major characters. The reader does gain obscure knowledge of the other characters, but the more times a writer switches the P.O.V., the less the reader will care about the main character.
A few other points on P.O.V.
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