Point of View

Do you remember this from English class? Stories are almost always told from a first person or third person perspective. In a first person story, it would be about what I did, my experience. “I went to the store.” A third person story would say, “She went to the store.” Second person would be you, “You went to the store.” Second person is hardly ever used in novels.

When I first wrote my novel, I wrote in third person, mostly from Jake’s point of view (POV), but sometimes from the POV of other characters. As I’ve been working on enhancing, clarifying and editing the story, I began to wonder whether this was the most effective way to tell the story.

Maybe I needed to change so everything was from Jake’s POV? If I did use the POV of other characters, did I need it to be balanced among the characters or would it be OK if it was mostly from Jake’s POV?

I brought this question to my writing group. After reviewing several scenes, they came up with a different suggestion. Perhaps Jake’s scenes should be first person and the others should be third person. Wow! I’d never considered first person. Could Jake tell the story himself?

POVThe next day, I decided to try it out. I re-wrote the first scene in the book. I liked it. First person gave me a better way to share information. It started out as an exercise of changing pronouns, but before long, the characters had more to say.

Six days later (SIX!), I realized I had a problem. The story cannot be told by Jake unless he survives at the end. I’m not saying whether he does or not, but haven’t you ever read a book where at first you don’t know at first if the storyteller will survive until you realize he had to in order to write the story? I have; it kind of takes all the fun out of it.
Another six days later and the story is back to third person. I’m still deciding how many characters’ Points of view I will use, but that will not be hard to change if I decide to do so. In the meantime, those scenes are better for what I learned from the characters when they were talking. I’ll carry that forward as I move through the rest of the book.


Thanks for following the journey!  I welcome feedback and suggestions.

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3 thoughts on “Point of View

  1. Have you ever considered writing it as if you have one of the other characters reading Jake’s journal and having him write it in the first person? I’ve read a story like that and it was really good. I still have it on my favorites book shelf actually. 🙂
    POVs are always interesting to play around with and consider what’s best for the story.


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