How to Choose the Right Perspective for Your Book

Before an any author dives into the creative process, it’s important to spend time reflecting on the best perspective and point of view for your prose. Each point of view offers a different art of storytelling and is worth exploring while you outline you novel. Here are some tips on each perspective to help you choose the right one for your magnum opus:  


First Person

First person offers an additional layer of intimacy between the reader and character and even helps the reader put themselves into the story. Readers will only see the story unfold through the eyes and mind of the character, so readers won’t know any information until the character experiences it themselves.


First Person Multiple

First person multiple switches between the first-person perspectives of two different characters and the story unfolds through their two individual point of views. This is a wonderful option if you want readers to become emotionally involved with multiple characters and is also a literary trick to one person knowing a plot point while it remains a mystery to the other – a suspense builder!


Third Person Limited

Third person perspective is the narrator detailing the life and events surrounding one character only. This is limiting, but is a technique that allows the readers to see the character while their emotions and thoughts still remaining a mystery.


Third Person Multiple

In Third Person Multiple perspective, the narrator details the lives of multiple characters. This allows the writer to introduce the reader to multiple characters and introduce more complex plot points that wouldn’t be possible with a more limiting perspective.


Third Person Omniscient

The narrator is in itself a character in Third Person Omniscient and knows all the plot points and can read the minds, thoughts and dialogue of all the characters. This is a powerful tool and gives the writer a full range of options while telling the story. 


Consider your plot and characters and determine the best point of view keep readers in suspense while also building an emotional connection between the reader and the characters -- the options are endless and powerful.


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Comment by Colleen Michelle Johnson on January 9, 2017 at 11:58am

I have recently found it difficult to decide on first person or first person multiple. Thank you for this information! It is exactly what I needed to help me focus.

Comment by Cynthia B Ainsworthe on January 5, 2017 at 11:46am

Thanks for posting this wonderful tool, Kristin. It will help authors to figure out which approach is best for their needs.

Third Person Omniscient or OP3---I was told that the author was to avoid this point of view at all costs, and that readers were put off from author intrusion. Has this changed?


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