Friday, October 2, 2009

Whose Point of View is it Anyway?

Our fiction class discussion focused on point of view and psychic distance this past week. While I think we all are familiar with First and Third person narration, many of us were astounded by the number of different POVs. Being comfortable in third person limited, I rarely leap out of this POV so this was such an eye-opening discussion for me. Yet, now that I'm aware, I will purposely play with the other roles.

1) Observer narrator (first person)
2) Observer narrator (third person)
3) Detached Author (observant third person)
4) Involved Author (limited third person)
5) First Person Narrative
6) Let's add to this list: Second person "you"

My question is what is your favorite POV to write in and why?


  1. I've done it all. The first story I wrote for my first creative writing class/workshop, in undergrad, had 3rd person, 2nd person, and maybe 1st person (I can't remember). The psychic distance probably went from 2 or 3 to about 4, maybe 5.

    It was actually kind of a mess, in terms of narration. LOL. Too many shifts, and they weren't really warranted. Oh well. I rewrote, and it turned out better, with only 3rd person omniscient.

    I suppose the first story I wrote for a UB workshop was 3rd person omniscient, and the POV changed characters a couple of times.

  2. depends on what i'm writing... for my pet projects i dig first person. i like getting behind the eyeballs of my characters. Ah the joys of vicarious living.

    otherwise, third person limited - although i have this nasty habit of shifting from limited to omniscient. :)

  3. I've done all of them in various pieces, although the second-person is really best limited to essays presenting a situation and asking rhetorically 'what do you do?' --at least in my hands. I'm extremely fond of first, limited third, and observant third.