POV or point of view is how the writer tells the story. There are three types of POV, which include the following:
- First Person
- Second Person
- Third Person
In this topic, we will discuss first person and second person. All of these types of POV have advantages and disadvantages. Some of these types are better than others. Before you write your story, poem, or essay, you need to decide which POV will be best for you.
First person uses the pronouns I, me, my, we, and ours.
The advantage of using first person is that it is a very intimate style of writing. You are already used to thinking in first person. For example, I went to the store and bought a red dress for the prom. Or, I went to the Grand Canyon for my summer vacation. Both of these sentences are examples of first person.
The disadvantage of first person is that you have to write from the viewpoint of the character that you pick as your protagonist. If your protagonist has never seen a certain building, you cannot describe it until he/she sees it. You can see inside your protagonist, but unless the antogonist tells his/her side of the story, you cannot show his/her emotions.
- First person seems easier to write because that is how we view the world.
- First person keeps you inside ONE character.
- First person gives you intimacy with one character, but does not provide understanding outside the one character.
First person fiction writing loses half of the advantages of third person writing. But, a well-written first person narrative can pull the reader into the life of the character.
Second person writing uses the pronouns you and yours.
It is hard to keep readers interested in second person writing because it begins to sound like commands or instructions. And in fact, second person is best used with instructions. For instance, stand up, sit down, brush your teeth. These commands are all in second person.
- Second person is used for instructions and commands.
- Second person distances the reader from the action because it makes him/her feel that you are telling him/her what to do.
- Second person is rarely used in fiction.
Next weeks topic will be about third person POV.
For more information about POV, go to the following links:
- Writing Styles for Fiction: Which Voice to Use by Kenneth R. Eaton
- What point of view? by Callum Shakespeare
- Who is Telling the Story, and Why?
- Reluctant First Person: Write a first person story where you use a limited amount of the pronoun I, me, and my. Your narrator can either be in the middle of the action or observing the action. The point of this exercise is that your narrator needs to describe action, feelings, and personal understanding of events around him/her. 300-600 words.
- Imperative Second Person: Write a second person story using only imperative sentences such as "Stand on your balcony and watch two people steal plates from a car. Walk down the stairs to confront them. Call the police instead," etc. Even though you is not stated, it is still second person because you is implied. 300-500 words.
You can either do one or both of the exercises. On Tuesday, I will post my writings. Next week we will continue with the POV third person.