The Use of Point of View in Fiction

You have been thinking of writing your own novel or short story, now you have put your entire ideas together ready to start the project. The question remaining now is which point of view you are going to use.

We are going to go through the various types of point of view; first person, second person, third person and omniscient.

  • First Person Point of View

The first person point of view usually occurs in the event that the story is narrated by the main character. The first person pronoun ‘I’ is usually used. In this case, you as a reader can only get the story through the protagonist’s eyes. This means that you cannot explore beyond the knowledge of the character, in other words, you are only limited to knowing what the character has experience on.

We can also have the first Person Peripheral point of view. This happens when the person narrating the story is someone other than the main character. The first person pronoun ‘I’ is still used. However, in this case, there are a number of events that will affect the protagonist but the reader will not have access to because since the narrator also doesn’t have access to the same.

  • Second Person Point of View

This is very rare in a fictional story. Usually used only for instructional writing. Here the second person pronoun ‘You’ is used.

  • Third Person Point of View

The third person point of view is when the story is narrated by another invisible person other than a character in the story. In this case, the third person pronouns ‘he/she/it’ is used. This is the most common point of view in fictional writing.

We have three main types of third person point of view:

  • Third Person Limited POV

From the word limited, we can deduce that this point of view is constrained to only a single character. This means that the person narrating the story has knowledge of just a single character and what that character knows.

The third person limited point of view allows you to decide the angle from which to view the actions of the character, this can be either directly from the characters head or somewhere far away in case the character knows more information compared to that of protagonist’s POV.

  • Third Person Multiple POV

This point of view happens when the narrator gives information on more than one character. For this point of view, it is important to inform the readers the point of shifting from one character to another. The switch should be seen through section breaks or chapters.

  • Third Person Omniscient POV

This point of view comes into play when the narrator has information on everything. Here, the narrator can be likened to God since he/she is not restricted to what the character has knowledge about. The narrator, in this case, has information that other characters don’t have, can make comments on the happenings and can also tell what is happening in the minds of the characters.

Writing in Third and Second Person

As mentioned above, the second person point of view is usually used for instructional writings.

For most of the fiction writing, the third person point of view is used.

What is a Resolution in a Story?

In every story, we have a conflict that needs to be resolved. The resolution in a story is, therefore, that part of the story’s plot in which the main problem is worked out. This happens after the falling action and it denotes the story end. Resolution is usually sometimes referred to as denouement.

Every story has the following major elements; exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and conflict resolution.

The exposition and the rising action usually provide the information and events resulting in the climax of the story. The climax is the highest point of interest in a story and is the point at which the main character goes through a metamorphosis or a change of fate.

The falling action and resolution are what comes after the climax. This is the part of the plot where the conflicts raised in the rising action are solved and the tension released. The reader is eased emotionally following a form of catharsis resulting in satisfaction.

In the event of conflict resolution, the questions that were raised  at the beginning of the storyare usually answered.

A complete story has a resolution; a good reader will notice this even if the author doesn’t clearly give all the details.

Plot vs. Theme

The plot and theme are the most important elements of a story.

The plot is the storyline while the theme is the idea or message that the author is trying to capture.

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The plot, therefore, is the happening of the story, how events unfold for example, what will the characters do, where they will go next, and when they will appear.

Some common examples of themes are; love, war, abortion, revenge, etc. As mentioned above, the theme is simply the main issue in the story, the message that the author is sending to the readers. Themes are very important part of the story since they bring together all the components of the story.

The following are some of the differences between a theme and a plot.

  • Themes make up the main idea of the story that guides the flow of the story or in other words, they are the motif of the story. On the other hand, the plot is merely the storyline of the story and is made up of the happenings from the beginning to the end.
  • The plot follows a specific structure whereas we can have different themes in a single story.

Creative Writing

Creative writing is any kind of writing that involves the creation of the mind. This can be fiction writing, creative nonfiction writing, poetry writing, etc. The main aim of creative writing is to send out a message or express something, be it thoughts, emotions or feelings.

Apart from sending a message or intruding the readers to take action, creative writings are meant to educate, entertain people, and to make people aware of something or someone. They are also meant to express an individual’s thoughts.

We can categorize creative writings into two:

  • Good and bad
  • Effective and ineffective

Ineffective and bad creative writing are ones that cannot produce the intended impression from the reader or in other words achieve the intended purpose.

As a writer, you need to ensure that your work of literature produces the intended results.

If your work of literature is good that is a great work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, it will never go unnoticed. But it doesn’t come easy you need to work for it.

The best thing to do if you want to be a good creative writer is to write compulsively. You need to find topics and write about them. Write, write, and write. Apart from that, you also need to read extensively.

Conflicts Examples

We have two types of conflicts in literary works:

Internal- occurs within oneself

External – occurs between man and nature, or man and man

The following are some of the most famous conflicts in literature

  • Internal conflict in the character of Doctor Faustus (By Christopher Marlowe)

In this story, we find Doctor Faustus who is very ambitious. The man is a much-respected scholar but he decides to sell his soul to Lucifer. He does this in order to find whatever he seeks in this world including power and pleasure. Remember that he was an ardent Christian.

After this action, we see him suffering from an internal conflict where he considers repenting following the advice from the good angel but the devil inside him doesn’t allow him to do so claiming that it is too late. In conclusion, the conflict is resolved as his soul is taken to Hell and he suffers eternal damnation just because he was over ambitious.

  • External conflict in The Lord of the Flies Farm (By William Golding)

In this story, we find Ralph who is the leader of the perceived good guys gets into conflict with Jack who is a bully that came to form a tribe of hunters. Later on, Jack and his gang decided to follow their savage instinct and started hunting the civilized boys, Ralph being their leader.

  • External conflict in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (By Harper Lee)

In this novel, we find Atticus Finch who is an honest lawyer, decides to rise up against his society that has embraced racism. He gathers the courage to stand up and defend a black man, Tom Robison who faces a false accusation of rape. Despite the fact that there are some few like-minded people who are in support of his quest, a majority of the people in the town have come out and disapproval the idea of Finch to defend a black man.