Narrative elements Storytelling guide

Point of View is a pivotal narrative element in storytelling

Point of View (POV) is the lens through which a story is told. It’s the perspective from which readers or viewers experience the narrative, whether it’s through the eyes and mind of a character or from a distance.

POV is crucial as it shapes the reader’s or viewer’s connection with the story. Whether it’s a book, movie, TV show, comic, song, or poem, the chosen POV sets the tone and provides a unique narrative experience.

2. Types of Point of View in storytelling

2.1. First Person

In first person POV, the narrator is a character within the story, sharing their personal experiences and emotions directly with the audience. This POV creates an intimate bond between the character and the reader. Learn more about First Person POV.


  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2.2. Second Person

Second person POV creates an immersive experience by addressing the reader directly, making them a character in the story.

This POV directly addresses the reader using pronouns like “you.” It’s often seen in choose-your-own-adventure books or interactive narratives.


  • “Choose Your Own Adventure” books
  • “If on a winter’s night a traveler” by Italo Calvino

2.3. Third Person

Learn more about Third Person POV.

2.3.1. Third Person Limited

Here, the narrator is outside the story but focuses on one character’s experiences. Even though the narrator is detached from the story, they have access to one character’s inner thoughts and emotions.


  • “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
  • “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

2.3.2. Third Person Omniscient

In third person omniscient POV, an all-knowing narrator shares insights into multiple characters, settings, and events.


  • “Middlemarch” by George Eliot
  • “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis Free Indirect Style:

This style blends the narrator’s voice with the character’s thoughts fluidly, providing a more intimate third person POV. It allows for presenting a character’s thoughts directly, without narration, within a third person narrative.


  • “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert

2.3.3. Third Person Objective

This detached narrator only shares observable actions and dialogues, keeping the characters’ thoughts and feelings hidden and leaving the interpretation up to the audience.


  • “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway
  • Screenplays and scripts often employ this POV, showing actions and dialogues without delving into characters’ inner thoughts

3. Choosing the Right POV

3.1. Factors to consider

Consider the narrative distance, the intimacy you want with the audience, and the amount of information you want to reveal.

  • Narrative Distance: Determine how close you want the readers to be to the action or the characters’ inner thoughts.
  • Intimacy: Decide on the level of emotional closeness you aim to create between the audience and the characters.
  • Information Control: Consider how much information to reveal to keep the narrative engaging and mysterious.


  • A mystery novel may benefit from a first or third person limited POV to maintain suspense.
  • An autobiographical narrative would naturally lend itself to a first person POV.

3.2. Impact on narrative

The POV can dictate how readers interpret events, connect with characters, and experience the narrative journey.


  • In “Game of Thrones,” the multiple third person limited POVs provide a complex, multi-faceted narrative.
  • The first person POV in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” creates a deep emotional connection with the protagonist’s experiences and emotions.

4. Mastering Your Chosen POV

  • Stay consistent: Maintain a consistent POV to avoid confusing your audience.
  • Exploring character depth: Utilize your chosen POV to delve into the psyche of your characters, revealing their fears, desires, and growth over time.

5. Exercises for Practicing POV

  • Rewrite a scene from your favorite book or movie using a different Point of View.
  • Create a short story and tell it from multiple POVs.


Understanding and mastering POV is a journey that can significantly enhance your storytelling prowess. Embrace the different POVs, practice them, and observe how they transform your narrative, creating richer, more engaging stories.