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Writing Tips for Teens: Point of View

I’m posting #writingtipsforteens on the first week of each month. This month’s subject is point of view.


Point of view shows who is telling the story. You can think of it like watching a movie—are we seeing it from a character’s point of view? Are we close to them, like seeing it through their eyes or looking over their shoulder? Where is the movie camera, like in a close up shot, or is there more distance, like a long or wide shot? All these things can enhance your story or poem.


First person point of view uses “I” or “me.” The narrator is in the story. For example: “I tiptoed down the dark hallway, my heartbeat thudding in my chest.”


Third person point of view uses “she,” “he,” or the singular “they.” The narrator is outside the story, looking on. For example, “She tiptoed down the dark hallway, her heartbeat thudding in her chest.”


Second point of view uses “you.” It’s not common in novels, but sometimes used in shorter pieces. For example, “You tiptoed down the dark hallway, your heartbeat thudding in your chest.”


Third person point of view can be limited, showing only what the main character can see or observe. For example, “Luis grinned, and I guessed he had a date for the prom.”


Or third person point of view can be unlimited or omniscient, showing what many characters can see or observe. For example, “Luis grinned, thinking about his date for the prom.”


If you’re going for a closer or more immediate point of view, you might have a limited point of view that we call deep point of view. That’s when we get deep into what the narrator is thinking and feeling. For example, “My breath hitched as my stomach clenched. No hope of Luis asking me to the prom, now that Taylor said yes.”


Choose whichever point of view will tell your story the best. Play around with it and try a few drafts to help you decide, if you’re not sure which works.


You can even use more than one point of view, for example alternating between two lovers in a romance, or between the protagonist and villain in a thriller.


Pro tip: Be clear and consistent throughout the book or story. Once you establish a point of view (or a couple points of view in the last example), don’t change it hallway through. Make it obvious who is speaking. You don’t want your reader to be like, “Hey, I’m lost. Who’s telling the story?”


Please comment if you have any questions. Take care. See you next month.


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