Made in America

First, Second or Third Person, the Choice Is Yours!

The styles that are used to write a book differ from writer to writer. Some write in the first person, others the second person and some in the third person.

These points of view are all viable options that you, as an author, can incorporate into your story.

Point of view, or POV as we’ll call it, might be a familiar term. However, just in case it isn’t, here’s a quick refresher!

POV is a narrative perspective from which a story is told. As we previously stated, POV can be in the first, second or third person.

Let’s take a look at each!

First person – There is no “I” in team, but there is when using first person POV! Basically, first person POV speaks directly from the thoughts of one specific character. This POV uses pronouns like “I,” “me,” “we” and “my” to narrate the character’s thought processes and ideas throughout the story.

Since we live in a very me-centric world, some authors find this POV easy to use, because it creates a connection between the narrator and the reader. On the other hand, some writers may find that this POV makes it hard to tap into and transition to the mindset of the other characters involved in the story.

Here’s an example of the first person POV: “I really began to understand what first person POV was by reading this blog on my own time.”

Second person – This POV is perhaps the least used among the three. Why? Because when using the second person POV, pronouns like “you” and “your” are used to point the attention directly to the reader.

However, there are times when second person POV is very useful. For instance, self-help books are a prime example, because the goal of this type of book is to speak directly to the reader to teach him or her something.

Example of second person POV: “You should read this Dorrance Publishing blog if you’re trying to learn about writing styles that you could potentially incorporate into your book.”

Third person – Last but not least, perhaps the most commonly used POV is the third person. This particular POV is most commonly used in novels and short stories.

The third person POV gives the author the chance to add more details that will enrich the plot, without having to find a way for the narrator to describe them. In short, third person POV allows the author to control what happens in the book and include opinions of and information about any and all of the characters in your story.

Example of third person POV: “Kelly told Michael about the Dorrance Publishing blog and he immediately went to his computer and read their article about the different points of view that can be used when writing.”

All in all, no matter what sort of POV you choose, whether it’s first, second or third person, these styles of writing have the potential to add depth to your book if done correctly. Typically an author chooses one POV and maintains it throughout the entire work; however, the inclusion of more than one POV can be done if it can add value to the story. For example, chapters focusing on the killer in a whodunit might be written in the first person, while the rest of the book is in the third. The key is to stick to the chosen style for that section – be it part of the book or the whole novel – and to be consistent.

So, take a look back at the three explanations that we gave you and decide which would fit best with your story.

The next step will be to write, write and write some more!

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