Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Characters Point of View

Another important aspect of your character, as you tell his or her story, is the point of view. You need to be sure you know whose story you are telling. The main character, your hero or heroine, is your protagonist. Your character who causes problems for your main character, is your antagonist.

If you are writing a short story, your point of view should be that of your main character. When you are writing a novel or novelette, you have more room to expand and can switch to other sub characters' view points. The main thing to remember, when novel writing, is to not switch point of view in the middle of a chapter. If you must change POV in the middle of a chapter, use a space break or some other device to show that you have changed scenes. You want to be sure your reader knows which character is seeing, feeling, tasting, or touching at any given point.

Telling your story in first person from your protagonist's point of view is one way to approach your story. If the story is coming from your main character, you have the ability to let your reader know what's going on in his or her head and what is happening to each of his or her five senses. Many authors chose to use the third person, or omniscient point of view, when telling a story. This point of view is much the same as first person, except you use the character's name, or he, or she, instead of "I." With an omniscient POV, the narrator can see everything that is going on throughout the story. He misses nothing.

Research guidelines before determining which POV you wish to use. Some publishers will not accept first person stories. Try writing your story in different viewpoints. It can totally switch your story around.


  1. I get this POV question a lot. I would love to use your article on my blog and link back to yours in it. Permission granted?

    Oh, my blog is http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com and it's all about writing.

  2. Yvonne, I'd be honored to have you use the article and link it back. Permission is definitely granted. Thanks for the feedback. I've seen your blog and enjoy it. I wish I had more time to read everyone's blog!

  3. Penny,

    You have such a wonderful blog and your writing tips have come in handy as a friendly reminder for my own writing- thank you!

    That's why I have awarded your blog the Honest Scrap Award!
    You can visit my blog for details!
    All the best,

  4. Penny, great article on Character P.O.V.

    I think you and your readers might also find two of my "Musings" articles of interest:

    Voice, Focus, POV:
    How to Make All Three Pop


    Layering Powerful Voice to Create Memorable Characters

    Both of these columns, + a lot more, can be found on The Purple Crayon's home page, under my name.

    Margot Finke
    "Rattlesnake Jam"

  5. Thank you, Peggy, for including The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor on your blog roll! Great to find you here. And, of course, that you are promoting the Muse Online Conference. LOL.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com