I, You, He, or She? What is Point of View?

First, second, and third person are three styles of writing and each has its own place in the writing world. Sometimes they can be confusing to understand when and how to use, so the Young Authors’ Corner is going to help you take a look at them!

First person is written from the writer’s point of view, so yours! First person is used in an autobiographical sense, so if the writer is telling a story about themselves or from the perspective of their character. First person is very effective for displaying your or your characters thoughts and emotions. Giving the actual perspective and feelings of the writer, whether it be yourself or a character, can be very helpful to portray characteristics of the story to the reader. However, first person can make formal writing sound subjective. If you’re trying to prove a point in your writing, or writing formally for an assignment, it’s best to avoid first person. As a writer you want to sound as credible as possible!

Second person is perhaps the least familiar of the three points of view. You might have used it before but you might not have known it! That was second person right there. Second person is directed at the readers. Almost as if you’re having a conversation with your audience, you address them as you would address someone you were talking to. Second person is helpful in having your readers sympathize or agree with you, as well as provoking thought within them. Second person isn’t used much in fiction writing, but an element of second person can be helpful here and there. Readers will better connect with and enjoy the story if you can help them understand what the characters are going through. Although you may not be using second person explicitly, it can be helpful to understand how to use it to better your own writing.

Third person, the most common in fiction writing, tells the story from the perspective of a narrator. It’s likely that your application story used third person! Third person uses pronouns like he, she, his, her, them, they, their, and it. This point of view can offer more freedom in how you tell your story. For example, in first person, only what is happening directly to the main character at a certain time can be written about without changing points of view. In third person, you as a writer can jump around to and be omniscient (which means an all knowing narrator) with all of the situations happening that are relevant to your story. Although, sometimes leaving certain pieces of information out can make the story more interesting! It’s all up to you how you decide to write the story.

The Young Authors’ Corner hopes this mini-lesson on points of view was helpful! Point of view is a big part of fiction writing and knowing a little bit about each of them can assist you a lot in your writing projects. We look forward to seeing you at the conference! Happy writing. 

Written By: Olivia Sherdian


About the author
Young Authors' Conference brings in guest writers to the blog in addition to the regular writers. If you are interested in guest writing on the blog, contact Christine (YAC intern) at plumme31@msu.edu