How to Choose Your POV

So we’ve talked about POV (point of view) before, but it’s a complicated matter, so let’s talk about how to choose the right POV for your story. POV is a big decision to make. It literally affects every single sentence you write and choosing the right POV can make or break the success of your story.

First, let’s do a quick overview of each POV (we won’t be talking about second because it isn’t commonly used for longer stories).

  • First person POV: Uses the “I” pronoun. This is the closest relationship between character and reader. This POV allows for easy access to the POV character’s thoughts and feelings. This can lead to more telling than showing. It can also be hard to describe characters and places familiar to the character, since we don’t overly describe people and places we know well. Also, the reader only knows what the POV character knows, sees, or hears. Watch out for unlikeable narrators.
  • Third person limited: Uses “s/he” pronouns or names. Similar to first person as you have access to the character’s thoughts and feelings and the reader only knows what the character knows, sees, or hears. Readers are very familiar with third person, so it’s comfortable for them to read. And it’s easier to switch POVs in third and still follow along (without head hopping). Watch out for info dumps.
  • Third person omniscient: Uses “s/he” pronouns or names. Omniscient is a complicated POV to use, so I wrote a whole post about it here. Creates the most distance between character and reader, but is all knowing. Watch out for head hopping.
  • Third person multiple: Uses “s/he” pronouns or names. Is the third person limited POV, but from various character POVs. Watch out for head hopping.

Most writers have a favorite POV they tend to use. Personally, I like to write in third person limited to avoid annoying narrators. But choosing the right POV comes down to a number of factors. Is your story character driven or plot driven? If your story focuses on one character and is character driven, first person is a great POV to use. You can get in depth with their thoughts and feelings and really develop your character. However, if your story revolves around a cast of characters and is more plot driven (actions happening to the characters), then a third person POV is a great way to go. You can switch from one character’s POV, like in multiple, to another’s as needed. Another thing to keep in mind is your strengths as a writer. If you’re not very good at writing in a certain POV, you don’t want to choose that POV for your novel. I recommend writing short stories in each POV to improve your skills.

Which POV do you prefer to use? Share below and happy writing!

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts.

What to Blog about Once You Decide to Blog

First of all, let me apologize for my absence. I’ve had some personal things I’ve been dealing with, including the loss of a dear friend of mine. Please forgive the gap in posts, I’m hoping to get things back to normal from now on.

So I’ve recently had some questions about starting a blog. Now blogging is all about the long game. You don’t start a blog just to quit two months later, we start a blog for the ages. We need to blog about something we can talk about for a long time to come. A lot of people who want to blog know they want to start a blog, but aren’t sure of what exactly to blog about. This is a very important question to answer and get right before you begin. Of course you can change what you write about as you go along, but the less juggling you do in the beginning the better for branding. I’ll impart some wisdom I heard from Chuck Sambuchino at the writing conference I attended in March. The common idea is to write about our writing, our own personal journey to publishing or our stories. But the question can be posed, who are you that hundreds if not thousands want to read your personal, fumbling journey? No offense meant of course. But thousands of people write about the same thing and the internet is oversaturated with this type of content. Instead, write about something you can speak about with some type of expertise. Write about something that will give your readers quality content they need.

The best way to gain real readers is to be useful and write good content. Being authentic in what you write about will help you to write quality posts. So pick your subject with purpose. What do you know a lot about? What interests you? French cuisine? 1920s fashion? Regency England? Architecture?  It can be anything. It can be related to the book your writing or have written, or it can just be specific knowledge you just happen to know. Spread the knowledge. Find your readership. Move beyond personal journeys into the publishing world to content your readers will crave.

Like I said earlier, the internet is already full of blogs, both current and abandoned, that are all about one writer’s personal journey in writing. But there’s no one right way to write or to get published that you can write about definitively. So what can you write about for years to come? Make blogging more than just a task to do daily or weekly. Make it your passion project. Write about something you’re passionate about! That’s what will get you readers.

What do you blog about? Share below and happy blogging!

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts.