Creative Write with Me #5: Point of View

Hello and welcome back to Creative Write with Me! This fifth episode of the series will focus on Point of View, an important part of the creative writing process, especially when we look at fiction (which I do).

Point of view is the perspective in which you or your character(s) tell the story. I’ll outline the four common points of view and talk about how I feel about each one, giving examples as I can. As an overview, the four I’ll be talking about are first-person, second-person, third-person limited, and third-person omniscient.

First-person is the one most people find easiest. If you don’t, that okay! There are lots of ways to practice and get good at it. First-person is what I write all my blog posts in, using ‘I’ a lot and telling you things using my voice. In this point of view, we usually understand the main character very well because we are in their head, listening to their thoughts and hearing their voice tell the story. A couple of examples of books written in the first person are A Court of Thorns and Roses and An Ember in the Ashes. An example of first-person point of view would be a journal entry, or something like this:

I ran up the stairs, hoping it wasn’t true. The death of my sister had weighed on me for years, and I had only just begun to heal. My mother had to be alive. She had to be. Her study was just around the corner. Once I was inside, I would know.

Second-person is trickier, and I slip into it while I write these blog posts because I’m talking directly to my reader. It’s a story written from the point of view of the reader, and the main pronoun used is ‘you’ rather than ‘I’. Have you ever read any of the Choose Your Own Adventure novels or fanfiction online? Those are both usually written from the point of view of the reader. I’ll include a small example below.

The library was quiet, as you had expected. The book you were looking for was somewhere near the back, somewhere around…here? You scanned the shelf where it should have been. Your hands started shaking. The last thing you wanted was to ask for help.

(NOTE: I recently read a book told partially in the second person point of view, The Push. A review of that book will be out in the coming months and I’ll discuss how second person was used beautifully in that novel by Ashley Audrain.)

The difficulty that second-person brings to the table is that your main character is constantly changing. The only thing you might be able to assume is gender, but even that can be tricky and requires advertising, so you don’t end up with unhappy readers. You can’t assume major personality traits or the visual appearance of your reader/character. However, as you can see if you’ve read fanfiction, second person allows the reader to fulfil a fantasy role rather than themselves. Even in Choose Your Own Adventures, the reader takes the role of someone who can go to exciting places and picture themselves in life-threatening situations, not usually in the reader’s everyday life. This allows the writer to be more specific about the main character/reader, and to attract a certain reader looking for the right adventure.

Third-person limited is the other relatively easy point of view. This is when the writer uses ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’ as the main pronouns. The character’s names are used in place of these pronouns as well. In the limited point of view, the story follows one character like in first-person. The story is being told about this person instead of the character telling the story themselves like they do in first person. As readers, we might hear the character’s thoughts, but always through the ‘he said’/’she said’ dialogue tags. There will never be an ‘I said’ in third person point of view. Another way of looking at it is having a narrator standing over the shoulder of the main character, able to hear their thoughts and tell their perspective for them. The difference between first and third person is most easily shown in video games like Skyrim and Call of Duty, where you can switch between seeing through the eyes of your character or from just behind your character.

She was nervous, sitting there outside the conference room. The board of directors that she had just presented her life’s work to were deciding her fate. Lydia had put this off for three years longer than she had to, perfecting every detail so that this would be a straightforward decision for the board. But she had already been sitting here for over ten minutes. How much longer would it take for them to change her life?

The most common mistake I’ve seen in third person limited is when more than one character appears to be the main character. This mostly happens when we read about more than one character’s thoughts and feelings. This is third-person omniscient, not limited. The other mistake that I see is when the story switches point of view from one character to another, while remaining in third person limited, but without a page or chapter break. Having more than one point of view character is fun and can be done, but I see it often in the books I’ve read for review on other sites that writers will try to do it mid-scene. I don’t believe that this is intentional, but it’s something to watch for when writing or editing your own stories. Both Cinder and The Raven Cycle are written in third person limited.

Third-person omniscient is strange and I will be the first to admit, I’m not a fan. I don’t enjoy reading it, and I’m not good at writing it. It’s when all characters are about to give their thoughts through an omniscient narrator. Courtesy of Google let’s define omniscient: “knowing everything”. Okay, that’s way more to the point than I thought it would be. So, the narrator of the story is all-knowing and able to tell you anyone’s thoughts when needed. I picture them hovering over the scene, jumping between characters to tell you the full story. Charles Dickens’ books are like this. Bleak House, which I struggled through reading for a class in university, was like this. It made me feel like I was apart from the characters. I couldn’t get close enough to know them. But beware not! Not everyone feels this way, and there are a good number of readers who love third-person omniscient and authors who do it justice. I suggest looking up examples of third-person omniscient written by other people because I’m not good at it, and I’d rather you see a good example.

That concludes the key points of view. I hope this post served as an easy guide to understanding them. If not, many other blogs can help you differentiate them from one another. Thank you all for reading this fifth Creative Write with Me installation. We move ever closer to the end of the explanations and the beginning of me writing stories for you. I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you!


Please feel free to support Lit&Leta by donating to its Buy Me a Tea button at the bottom of the site. All proceeds go towards new books to review, tea to help my writing, and allowing me to continue making these wonderful posts for all of you. It is greatly appreciated and thank you so much to those that have helped fund this project.


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