Single character POV vs. two POVs – how to decide?

Asked by: Robyn Love

How do you decide what point of view to use?

How Do You Choose a Narrative Point of View?

  1. Determine how much distance you want to put between the reader and the narrator. …
  2. Consider how much information you want the reader to have. …
  3. Decide how trustworthy you want the narrator to be. …
  4. Think about whether you need to use multiple viewpoints throughout the story.


Why would a writer choose one POV over another?

Each viewpoint allows certain freedoms in narration while limiting or denying others. Your goal in selecting a point of view is not simply finding a way to convey information, but telling it the right way—making the world you create understandable and believable.

How many POV characters should I have?

One of the most common challenges for us as writers is deciding how many point-of-view characters we should use, and yet a lot of the advice we hear can be too generic. Use the right number for your genre. Don’t use more than three.

Can a story have 2 POVS?

This means telling your story from the perspective of two or more characters, weaving the story together by alternating between viewpoints. Multi-POV stories are particularly common in speculative fiction, but can be found in any genre.

What POV is Harry Potter written in?

third person limited point of view

Rowling wrote all seven Harry Potter books using a third person limited point of view that made Harry the focal point. The narrator can tell us what Harry’s thinking, feeling, and seeing—as well as zoom out to tell us more about the precarious situations he finds himself in.

Which POV is best for novel?

Third person point of view is perhaps the most commonly used perspective. It can give the author more flexibility than the other two perspectives, especially with third person multiple or omniscient. The advantage of third person is that the author can write from a broader perspective.

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Should my book have multiple POVs?

Your story must be told from multiple perspectives.



This is especially true when each member in your cast of characters provides a unique piece to a larger puzzle: They might not understand each other’s lives, or they might clash against one another as a result of plot events.

How do you handle multiple POVs?

5 Tips for Writing From Multiple Points of View

  1. Hone in on the most important character. …
  2. Use different perspectives to build characters. …
  3. Stick to one point of view for each scene. …
  4. Clearly define perspective shifts. …
  5. Give each character a unique perspective and voice.


How many POVs can you have in a novel?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how many POVs you should limit yourself to. Some experts and writing coaches will tell you no more than 3 to 5 POVs. But it’s your story to tell, so you should decide who tells it and how.

How do you outline a novel with multiple POVs?

So just a little tip there if you're trying to figure out multiple POV. One of the sad things is that most books on plot will touch only on single POV.

Can a book switch between first and third person?

So this can happen two ways: the ‘accepted’ way is to have a different character narrate, for instance, a different chapter, or have the story slip from 1st to 3rd or 3rd to 1st. The other way is to stay in 1st with the same narrator and just allow them to narrate a scene they were not present for.

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Can you mix POV?

Introduce both viewpoints fast. Mixed-viewpoints is pretty rare in fiction, so you kind of owe it to your readers to let them know as soon as possible what they’re in for. For example, don’t give us several first-person hero chapters before showing us a third-person villain interlude. That would be very jarring.

Why do writers choose to write in third person?

The primary advantage to writing fiction in the third person (using the pronouns he, she, they, etc.) is it allows the writer to act as an omniscient narrator. Information can be given to the reader about every character and situation, whether or not the individual characters know anything about it.

Why would an author choose a third person narrator?

The third-person omniscient point of view allows readers to glimpse into a character’s head, hear their inner thoughts, and understand the motivations of myriad different characters—in a way that would not be possible in strictly first-person narration.

When should you use third person?

Use the third-person point of view when you want to express the thoughts and opinions of more than one character. You should also use the third-person point of view when you want to include not only your characters’ thoughts, feelings and opinions, but also the narrator’s thoughts, feelings and opinions.

Is third-person omniscient bad?

Writing in third-person omniscient perspective allows the narrator to reveal details to the reader that the characters don’t know about (yet…or maybe ever). It’s a great device for building tension in a story.

Is it easier to write in first person?

For many writers, it’s the easiest POV because of the natural flow of the writing that imitates our normal, everyday way of speaking. First person perspective is also a brilliant way to bring some attitude, originality and fun to the overall tone of your novel, and a unique voice to your character/s.

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Does Stephen King write in 1st person?

While good ol’ Stephen King here begins his novel in the first-person point of view, the story is in three parts, and the middle part is in the third-person point of view.

Do agents prefer first or third person?

So, how do you choose between the two? They each have their advantages and disadvantages, as I will explain below. Generally, the third-person point of view is more common in publishing and is usually accepted by all publishers and agents without complaint.

Why is first-person point of view bad?

Limited Viewpoint



A piece written in first person can include only what that main character sees. This limits the amount of information or background in the story. The reader doesn’t get to see the action from any other character’s point of view.

Why is second person bad?

The Cons Of Second Person Point Of View



It’s harder to develop side characters and sub-plots about them. If the reader dislikes your narrator or the narrator’s voice, the reader will likely dislike the book regardless of its story.

What is the downside of using only one point of view?

Con: The reader only knows as much as the one character, so unless the character experiences something, the reader won’t know about it. First person is also quite subjective so can be restricting, since it’s only told from one perspective.