What is POV? Point of view in a story is whose eyes you’re seeing the story through. Sometimes, it’s a narrator. Sometimes, it’s several different people. And it can vary in how “deep” you are — how immersed you are in that character’s mind and emotions.
Some writers prefer to write in a first person point of view — Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, for example. Third person point of view tends to be the most popular on the market, generally limited to a single person per scene or chapter, although some writers can transition smoothly from one character to another. Omniscient just means that you can see what everybody is thinking to some extent; it used to be quite popular and still enjoys some use.
And now, my usual tongue-in-cheek questions.
Q: What about camera view?
A: Camera view is as if you’re a camcorder sitting on a particular character’s shoulder. Sometimes you can pan back, but you generally don’t see into someone’s head. Note that unlike in modern cameras, this does not come with GPS information or time and date stamps as a standard feature.
Q: Isn’t it pointless to talk about point of view, anyway? Readers either like the story or they don’t. Why fuss about with talking over details like this?
A: That’s certainly one point of view. And to some extent, it’s accurate. However, some readers do care whether a story is told in first or third, and sometimes the reason they don’t get into a story is because it’s not a deep enough point of view or a point of view they can sympathize with, so it’s worth bringing up as a discussion point.
Q: Can you have first-person omniscient?
A: I knew you were going to ask that.
If you have any questions about point of view, my Q & A topics, or something you’d like to see here, leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading!
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