Notes on Fictional Point of View


First-person central
Can disclose opinion, internal workings
Objective tone or personality-centered tone

First-person minor
Observes the actions of the central character
Less subjective, objective witness
Authenticity, drama, close-ups, immediacy, intimacy


Addresses “you” – not common, often experimental


Third-person limited
Equal view on all characters, unidentified author who’s not in the action
Tells only what can be perceived from inside the world and action of the story
Impersonal observation, no commentary
Leaves inferences to the reader
Limitation is no depth of understanding

Third-person central
Method of “central intelligence”
Doesn’t feel completely subjective
“Male” method (vs. the epistolary or diary “female” methods)
Confines the reader to what the central character can know

Third-person omniscient
Author has full power of authority, imagination
Oldest method
Risks lack of focus, distancing, or rendering the reader passive
Little sense of intimacy with characters