Writing Talk: Points of View and Perspective

When it comes to POVs in writing, people usually fall into one of two categories: 1) less is more, or 2) the more the merrier.

I firmly belong to the second category. Almost everything I’ve ever written has consisted of multiple POVs. Seeing as I usually write politically-driven fantasy with quite complex plots and subplots, I find having several POVs works the best in telling my story. I also like being able to look at events from different character’s perspectives, and exploring their reactions and backgrounds in more depth.

Then again, I also always write in third person. I’ve come to the conclusion that first person, particularly in fantasy novels, just isn’t really my cup of tea. I prefer the way third person reads, particularly when there are multiple POVs to contend with. Giving characters’ their own unique voices is difficult enough when writing in third person, and juggling more than one or two characters in first person is impossible (or far too difficult for me to ever pull off).

I’ve recently gone back to splitting my POV shifts by scene, rather than by chapter. This is how I used to structure my writing a long time ago when I first started, but over time I started limiting myself to only one POV per chapter. With my new project, however, it quickly became apparent that I needed the flexibility of being able to jump to different characters’ heads in scene breaks. Obviously, this would be incredibly difficult to do if I was also writing in first person, but I think in a third-person style it works.

I’ve always wanted to write sections of a novel in second person (and I even have a very basic idea of what plot I would use), but for now I think that’s well beyond me.

Do you have a preferred POV number/perspective, and does it change depending on whether you’re writing or reading?

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One thought on “Writing Talk: Points of View and Perspective

  1. I’m growing more tolerant of 1st person POV but I don’t think I’d write in it. I’m also quite fond of 2nd person POV but it doesn’t quite work for anything I have going atm.

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