This is the writing help page for Point of View. If you were looking for help on another writing topic, please click here, which will direct you to the main writing help page.

Point of view (also known as perspective) describes the position of the narrator (the character of the storyteller) in relation to the story being told. There are three major perspectives, and they are: Fist Person, Second Person, and Third Person. There are also some smaller divisions among these three perspectives, and they will be discussed further on. Some writers may mix multipe perspectives within one story, however that is up to the author and their skill level.

First Person

A first-person narrative is a story narrated from the viewpoint of a character writing or speaking directly about themselves. The narrator(s) of first person stories will use the sigular and plural pronouns of "I," "Me," "My," "Mine," "We," and "Our." This allows the reader to see the opinions, thoughts, and feelings of only the narrator(s), and no other characters.

Since the narrator is within the story, he or she may not have knowledge of all the events. There can be multiple first-person narrators in a story, with each of these sources providing different accounts of the same event. The first-person narrator may be the principal character or one who closely observes the principal character. These can be distinguished as "first person major" or "first person minor" points of view.

First-person narratives can tend towards a stream of consciousness and Interior monologue (these topics are discussed here). First-person narrators are often unreliable narrators (also discussed here) since a narrator might be impaired, lie, or manipulate his or her own memories intentionally or not. The whole of the narrative can itself be presented as a false document, such as a diary, in which the narrator makes explicit reference to the fact that s/he is writing or telling a story. As a story unfolds, narrators may be aware that they are telling a story and of their reasons for telling it. The audience that they believe they are addressing can vary.

Second Person

The second-person narrative is a narrative mode in which the protagonist or another main character is referred to by second-person personal pronouns, such as "you," "your," yours," and "you're."

Traditionally, the second-person form is used less often in literary fiction than the first-person and third-person forms. Chose-Your-Own-Adventure books (which are allowed on the wiki) are a popular form of writing that (usually) includes second person perspective.

Although not the most common narrative technique in literary fiction, second-person narration has been a favored form in various literary works within, notably, the modern and post-modern tradition.

Third Person

Third-person narration provides the greatest flexibility to the author, and as such, is the most commonly used narrative mode in literature (though first person is also really big now). In the third-person narrative mode, each and every character is referred to by the narrator as "he", "she", "it", or "they", but never as "I" or "we" (first-person), or "you" (second-person).

In third-person narrative, it is clear that the narrator is an unspecified entity or uninvolved person who conveys the story and is not a character of any kind within the story.

The third-person modes are usually categorized along two axes. The first is the subjectivity/objectivity axis, with "subjective" narration describing one or more character's feelings and thoughts, and "objective" narration not describing the feelings or thoughts of any characters. The second axis is the omniscient/limited axis, a distinction that refers to the knowledge available to the narrator.

An omniscient narrator has knowledge of all times, people, places, and events, including all characters' thoughts; a limited narrator, in contrast, may know absolutely everything about a single character and every piece of knowledge in that character's mind, but the narrator's knowledge is "limited" to that character, as in, the narrator cannot describe things unknown to the protagonist.

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