21 Apr 2018

#Discussion: Book Perspectives + Recommendations!

I like reading books that are written in different ways because reading the same type of perspective over and over is nothing but boring. I try to vary my readings to include first and third person perspectives (and sometimes even a second person here or there) depending on the type of book I'm reading and my mood. 

There are pros and cons to each type of writing style and sometimes it is hard to get into a book because of this so it is important to know the different types of perspectives, advantages and disadvantages of them, and what you can expect from these books as well. So let's take a look at the options below and see the pros and cons (and list some of the best books that fit that category as well!)

First Person

What is it?

First person POV refers to the I, we, me, my, mine, us narrator, often the voice of the heroic character or a constant companion of the heroic character. This can be in the past or the present tense but usually focuses on just one of the main characters (although I have read some books where one character has first person present narration and there are other types in there as well and it took me SO LONG to get used to it that I didn't even enjoy the book and I probably couldn't tell you the name of it now)

•    It feels natural to most writers because we live in an I world.
•    You have to deal with only one mind: the narrator’s.
•    You can create a distinctive internal voice.
•    You can add an element of craft by creating a narrator who is not entirely reliable.


•    You are limited to writing about what the narrator can see or sense.
•    The narrator must constantly be on stage or observing the stage.
•    You can’t go into the minds of other characters.

Books You Should Read:

- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Second Person

What is It?

The you narrator, this POV is rarely successful, and even then works best in shorter books. But know that most publishing professionals advise against using this tricky approach.

You’re just standing there. She comes along and kisses you, and you nearly faint.


•    It gives you the power to be different, even eccentric in the way you can speak to the reader so directly.


•    It begins to feel quirky, whether you’re reading it or writing it.

Books You Should Read:

- Half Bad by Sally Green
- Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Third Person Omniscient

The he, she, it, they, them narrator, third person is the most common POV in fiction. It offers a variety of possibilities for limiting omniscience: information that the narrator and reader are privy to in the telling of the story.

Books to Read:

- Air Awakens by Elise Kova
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Third Person Unlimited Omniscience

What is It?

In this POV, the author enters the mind of any character to transport readers to any setting or action.

He stood stiff as a fence post, watching her come his way. What did she want? he wondered.

She had decided to kiss him, no matter what. So she did. She could see the effect of her kiss at once. He nearly fell over.

•    It can enrich your novel with contrasting viewpoints.
•    Both you and your reader can take a breath of fresh air as you shift from one character’s POV to another’s.
•    You can broaden the scope of your story as you move between settings and from conflicting points of view.


•    You can confuse yourself and the reader unless every voice is distinctive.
•    You can diffuse the flow of your story by switching the POV too often. (Notice how the last passage about the kiss jolts you from one POV to the other.)
•    It’s easy to get lazy and begin narrating as the author instead of as one of your characters.

Third Person Limited Omniscience

What is It?

The author enters the mind of just a few characters, usually one per chapter or scene.

He stood stiff as a fence post, watching her come his way. What did she want? he wondered, as she approached. Then he saw the determination in her face. Good crackers! She was going to kiss him, no matter what.

She did, too, and he nearly fell over.

•    It has all the advantages of third person unlimited POV.
•    You can concentrate the story by keeping to major characters’ (and strategic minor characters’) thoughts.


•    There aren’t any, really; by imposing POV discipline, you minimize the downsides of unlimited omniscience.

What is your favourite perspective to read?

1 comment:

  1. I used to really despise 3rd person, like actively avoid it. But i think it's become my favorite! Dualing POV, 3rd person...sign me up!


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