Different types of POVs


#1

I was thinking of writing my next book in a different style. It is third person POV but every chapter is seen through the eyes of a different character. And twist is that there is only one main character and he doesn’t get his own POV. This got me thinking that there are so many ways to play with POVs. These are the ones I have come across:-

First person POVs

Consistent Main Character - There is one central character who narrates the story. Example- Twilight, The Boy in Stripped Pajamas

Consistent Side Character - Someone other than the main character narrates the story. Example - Sherlock Holmes

Shifting - Different characters narrate the story in different chapters. Example - Breaking Dawn

Document collection - The whole book is written as letters or collection of documents. (It can be either of the POVs or a mix) Example- Les Liaisons Dangereuses, What She Left

Second person POV - Rarest POV of all. Example - You; Bright Lights, Big City; The Fifth Season; Brass; Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

Third Person POVs

Omniscient - Everything that is happening is told. The writer is talking to directly with the readers. Example- Most of the classics like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

Single - The story is told in third person but only the things which are seen by the main character is told. Example - Ender’s Game.

Shifting - It is limited like single third person POV but different characters take charge in different chapters. Example- A Song of Ice and Fire.

Sometimes the authors mix some of these. Like in Harry Potter first few chapters are Omniscient and rest the through Harry’s eyes. Or like Dan Brown shifted to first person POV in a chapter of Inferno.

If anyone knows any other POVs or literature explaining more types of POVs please share.


#2

That’s so interesting! I’m exploring multiple POVs right now and I’m really liking Omniscient and Consistent Main/Side Character. I believe those are the most used too.

What about documents? I’ve once read a book that was made up of only documents, so photos, journals, new articles, police reports… (The book was What She Left by T.R. Richmond)


#3

Read some of it just now. :money_mouth_face: interesting addition to the list. Thank you.

I’ll add it to letter style


#4

it sounds great in theory, but I would worry that switching a character in every chapter would prevent me from really getting to know any of them as well as a reader. It’s sounds clever, but also sounds like it might be distracting.

I’m not sure. Like anything, it really depends on the execution.


#5

I agree with @oliviarose85: if you stick with your POV, you help your readers to identify with the character, to feel for her, and also the plot will be easier to follow.

I noticed that effect when reading George R.R. Martin’s books, “shifting” as you call it. When I started to care about someone, George took me away and put me into another scene, one I had no feeling with. And when I started to get that feeling, he took me away again. It might work in a movie or on TV, but not in a book, not for me. I stopped reading A Song of Ice and Fire after book 4 while I read every follow-up (8 books in total) of Ender’s Game, rating them all with 5 stars.