How To Pick The Right Point-of-View For Your Novel

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In the past, I've written various blog articles about point-of-view. For instance, if you want a breakdown, or refresher course, of various points-of-view click here. Or if you want an in-depth article on mastering deep point-of-view you can click here. However, recently an email subscriber asked: "How do I know which point-of-view works best for my novel?

That's an important question and only one that you as the author can answer. However, I've come up with some questions you can ask yourself that will hopefully make the process a little easier. 

What Is Point-of-View?

Point-of-view is best defined as the narrator's position in the description of events. It's the way readers hear, see, and experience what is happening. 

What Are The Various Types Of Point-of-View?

  • First person: In first-person point-of-view, the narrator relates events he or she is personally experiencing. This is the most common point-of-view used in fiction. 
  • Second person: In second-person point-of-view, you become the protagonist. This is used mainly in non-fiction.
  • Third person, limited: In third-person, limited point-of-view, the narrator isn't in the story and relates the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of often just one character.
  • Third person, omniscient: In third-person, omniscient point-of-view, the narrator isn't in the story and relates the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of ALL the characters in the story. 

How Do I Choose?

In order to choose the point-of-view that is best suited to your novel. It's important to think about your novel and the emotion or feelings you want to convey. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of emotion do I want my readers to feel as they read my story?
  • Which point-of-view is most likely to engage readers and keep them interested in my novel?
  • What important information do I want my readers to know at certain points in my novel?
  • How many viewpoints are needed to convey that information?
  • What character or characters best convey the emotion of my novel?
  • Which character is present during most of the major plot points of my novel?

Hopefully, by answering the questions above you can determine which point-of-view works best for your novel. For instance, if all of the pertinent information can be conveyed through the eyes of one character, and you want your readers to connect with that character on a deeper level, you may prefer first-person point-of-view. However, if you need the viewpoints of multiple characters to convey the emotion of your novel and keep readers invested, you might prefer third-person, omniscient. 

Ugh! I Still Can't Decide!

Don't fret! Try writing a chapter, or an important scene, in two tenses and seeing which tense is easier to write. Which felt more natural? Or, try writing your novel from various character perspectives. Which perspective makes the most sense? What if you're halfway through your first draft, but you feel that the point-of-view you've picked doesn't make sense? Don't get discouraged or give up. Make the change to a point-of-view that is better suited to your novel. Your novel and your readers will thank you later. 

I hope this blog post was helpful in helping you pick the right point-of-view for your novel. If you have any other questions or additional tips, please leave them in the comments down below! 

Happy Writing!