Everyone writes differently. That’s a fact. If we all wrote the same things, and had the same ideas, and wrote in the same exact way, what a boring place our book stores and libraries would be!

Now, that being said, there are three main ways in which you can convey your story to someone. But, within those three types, there are sub-types. This is the first in a series to discuss the different types of POV and how you can use them most effectively.

First Person POV

First Person POV is when you tell a story through a character using I, my, mine, ours, or we. This is an incredibly intimate way of writing. It makes your reader feel as though they are the character’s best friend.You can delve deep into the mind of one particular character and get to know them better than any other style of writing. This is not to be confused with Deep POV. That will be for another time.

One of the downfalls of using First Person POV is the temptation to tell your reader everything instead of showing. Being inside the head of one specific person for several thousand words on end makes it easy to simply tell the reader what the POV person is thinking, rather than showing it.


Now, for the sub-types of First Person POV

Rashamon Effect


This style of First Person POV derives from a Japanese movie with the same name. It is about how different people view the same event with different memories and different opinions of the same things.

Check out the Wiki on the Rashamon Effect to find books, movies and TV episodes for examples.


Sequential Multiple Viewpoint


This type of First Person POV is becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger generations of writers. In this type of writing style, a new chapter is started with a new character’s First Person POV, and the book still proceeds with its story in chronological order. This type of writing style can be difficult, as you need to make each character’s POV sound unique. The more characters you have, the harder it becomes.

Separate Multiple Viewpoints

These are stories that just don’t seem to go together – at first. At each new scene break or chapter, a different POV is introduced that seems to be telling a completely different story. It isn’t until much later in the story that all the bits and pieces begin to come together, and the reader can see that the stories are all leading to the same point of interest / epic climax.
So, imagine the picture above with the puzzle pieces with spaces between each of the pieces. They all fit together, but we don’t know that yet.

The main point in writing any type of First Person POV is to very careful of head hopping. If you wish to write in any First Person POV that involves multiple people, remember that unless your characters have the ability to read minds, they can’t read minds.

 photo headhopping.jpg

For example: If you are telling the story from Jennifer’s point of view, and Jennifer is having a conversation with Alicia, Jennifer can’t know that Alicia thinks Jennifer is lying unless Alicia actually tells Jennifer, or Alicia gives some kind of body language indication to Jennifer.