- Third Person Limited: 'he' or 'she' is used to denote a POV character and it is through this character that we experience the story. We see through his/her eyes.
- Third Person Unlimited or Multiple: the POV character changes throughout the story usually by chapter. In one chapter we experience things through character A and then in the next we experience it through character B and so on.
- Third Person Omniscient: it still uses 'he' and 'she' but now the narrative voice is above and beyond a single character. We see through the eyes of every character and 'head pop.' It can be difficult to do this and keep the audience clear and who's head we are in and when.
- First Person: 'I' is used and the POV character is the narrator.
- Second Person: 'You' is used and the narrative tells 'you' what to do or what you are feeling. This is mainly used in 'how to' type writing and text books. The choose your own adventure tales also employ this technique.
These are the building blocks of narrative and once you learn to use them, you are more than welcome to abuse them. Mix it up! Jonathan Stroud's Bartimeaus Trilogy employs the use of third person multiple as well as first person depending on which character's head we are in.
In college (undergrad) I had a professor who stated most adamantly that female authors should only write from the POV of female characters and male authors should only write from the POV of male characters. He also said that most, if not all, stories should be written in third person limited and keep with one character throughout the entire novel. Recently, during grad school, I met several accomplished and aspiring authors who awakened me to the freedom we have in writing. They encouraged me to play with POV and also reaffirmed my belief in the commonality of human experience, a.k.a women can write men and men can write women. For me, being given a sort of permission to mix up POVs and play with alternating POV characters in a story, was extremely liberating. I encourage our contributors and readers to never feel limited in delivery.
Please visit the following sites for other definitions and explanations of POV: The Beginning Writer, Humboldt.Edu, and Learner.Org. For further discussion on this topic, comment below!
Amanda LaFantasie (Skoora) © 2013