All novels, essays, and short stories follow this rule; the narrator speaks from a point of view you can recognize. There are five commonly accepted PoV’s: First-Person, Second-Person, Third-Person-Limited, Third-Person-Omniscient, and Third-Person-Objective. See if you can discover any new information related to PoV from this blog post; if you have your own additions or advice, feel free to share your findings with other authors, writers, or word-smiths of any kind you know. 

First-Person (For example, James Balwdin’s, Notes of a Native Son) Utilizing I, me, mine, my, etc., first person narratives often tell the story informally or directly from a main character’s point of view. Their experiences are how to see the story, be it emotionally or rationally. 

The interpretation of the character requires either a stability, or an easily understood unreliability between the reader and the text, otherwise the text does not flow in an understandable manner. Often great for any genre of writing, first person point of view is still versatile despite possible narrative constraints. 

Second-Person (For example, N.K. Jemisin’s, The Fifth Season

A very difficult form of narrative, either describing actions taken by YOU the reader, or in conversation with the reader, YOU directly, utilizing YOU as the pronoun. Common cases of Second-Person stories are “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” books, in which YOU flip to the page that matches the decisions you choose to make. 

This PoV requires skilled use of interactions between characters, dialogue, and setting in order to function effectively in any story. It can be extremely hard to pull off, but when done correctly it is a hell of a read. Easier to use in poetry and fiction, although it can work in non-fiction as well if the author is trying to write in conversation with the reader. 

I recently ended up writing a short fiction piece in second person, based around a character’s thoughts to himself. He’d occasionally directly talk to himself in his head, which is where I used “you” in the text. I personally enjoyed working in this PoV. 


The narrator speaks only the information the characters they narrate for knows. The reader gets no extraneous information, no direct statement of emotion or feeling unless it’s something that can be seen or shown to and through other characters. 

This PoV is best used in story-based genre’s, most generally fiction, non-fiction prose, lyric essays, and longer forms of poetry. 

Whatever the character knows, is what the reader gets to know. None of this, “Oh, but the magician was furious despite his deadpan expression,” stuff.

Third-Person-Omniscient (For example, John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men

A utilization of the same s/he her/him pronouns, with a narrator not connected directly to the story. The narrator is instead an unobtrusive, all knowing being, observing everything that occurs, and detailing it to the reader with whatever the author or writer deems to be necessary flair or style. 

This narrative style focuses on showing everything a scene or setting or encounter or dialogue has to offer, granting the reader immense knowledge of the happenings within the story. Extremely easy to use in any genre, though less common in most forms of poetry, and NF. 

I usually write this by writing what I know of the current topic in the story, then cutting it down to what was happening directly. Instead of building up to what the reader should know as well, I would cut down to what they know, allowing them to also infer from pieces left in the text. 


A PoV with hints of the omniscience within it, but with objectivity. Kind of weird to explain it like that, but it is what it is. The omniscience is only in the actions and setting portrayed by the story, the narrative, while all emotion and thinking, is created objectively by the reader in real time as they read the story. 

This style is incredibly useful for non-fiction authors when portraying events constructed to benefit their narrative, and although bland (in my opinion) within poetry, it can work as a sort of rationale, a stop-gap between two topics the poet desires to breach together. Fiction’s take on objective third person is more in the telling of the actions, the events. Despite this objectivity, it allows for the reader to construe their own emotions and experiences onto the PoV character.


Of course, to argue and say one particular PoV is easier than the rest is wrong. While the second person perspective is much more difficult due to the nature of the reader feeling themselves as the narrator instead of the character in most possible stories, each PoV shares its own difficulties and stylizations that may be easier or harder for you to write in or with. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it requires practice and effort to find and improve upon those weaknesses, and determination to improve their strengths.

Meet the blogger:

White mug that says SKYLIR HAUSER was a Hamline University student enrolled in the Runestone Literary Journal internship course during their senior year at Hamline. They’ve spent the past three years taking intensive reading and writing courses, as well as writing multiple short stories in different PoV’s.

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