Once again, Philip Athans proves himself to be the man. If you click the link above it will take you to a post of his where he talks about the use of varying Points of View and why he thinks it is a good thing.

Personally, I couldn’t agree more.  Different points of view add perspective and suspense if done right.  For years I was told to stick with third person, and I have done a lot of writing from that perspective, but I love playing with first person and even second (usually for short pieces). In Alone, my work in the editing and rewriting stage of development, I kept the POV first person and the editing process has shown me how hard that can be, but I wouldn’t change it. For that story it works  and to change it would alter the flow of the story and its emotional content. My ingoing 100-word challenge story has three distinct POV’s and even two different tenses so far.  The hero is written from first person present tense while the other two POV’s are from third person past. The switching back and forth creates a different sort of dynamic for each and adds to the tension and character of each scene.

The more I write, the more I want to play with POV and tense.  There is too much you can do with both to settle for the lazy third person omniscient approach to writing every time you sit down at the desk.  Explore, grow and find what works for you. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.


  1. Aj b33m3R

    I remember when I started learning about writing many were all about staying away from 1st person narrative and these days it’s hard to find a short story not written in 1st person.

    I’m partial to switching POV myself, changing every chapter or mid chapter to a different character. I did an experiment recently in which I tried switching POV every paragraph. I was trying to create a sense of tension and a crescendo type thing. Not sure what I think about it… I should e-mail it to you and see what you think.

    1. Eric Swett

      It sounds like an interesting concept. I would definitely be interested in giving it a read.

  2. Randall

    Maybe a little different in poetry, but third person I feel kind of makes it distant, unless the poem calls for it. I realize that not all can be done in first person, but I think it adds a little more closeness, like if I am talking straight to you instead of narrating some scene. Anyway, I think you wrote a really great post and very informative.

    1. Eric Swett

      You may be right about that. I’m not a poet, though I tried to be in high school, but it does seem to me that going first person in that realm makes a lot of sense.

  3. […] In Defense of Multiple Points of View ( […]

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