When we think of different points of view (POV), it’s like using various lenses on a camera to take a photo. One lens can take a photo that’s zoomed in while another can take a photo that’s zoomed out. Essentially, the same concept applies to writing.
Point of view in literature is the perspective an author uses to convey their story. There are various points of view that an author can utilize with each offering a unique perspective for readers to explore. Through POV, the reader is given key details about characters, events, and emotions throughout the text.
In this guide, we’ll define the different points of view, review helpful examples of each one, and give you tips on how to apply each perspective to elevate your writing as a dietetic professional.
First-Person Point of View
Narrating in the first-person is characterized by the use of “I,” “we,” or “me” pronouns because the narrator is a character within the story.
This point of view allows the reader to intimately connect with the narrator as it provides an in-depth look into the narrator’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
Although the reader can deeply relate to the narrator, it often prevents the readers from connecting with other characters in the story. For that reason, the story is at risk of becoming mundane and repetitive.
Tips for Writing in the First Person
When writing in the first-person POV, the goal is to captivate readers to dive into your narrator’s world and join them on their journey. Therefore, make sure your voice is relatable, distinct, and engaging.
Second-Person Point of View
Second-person narration is mainly characterized by the word “you” as it directly involves and engages with your reader. Although second-person POV is quite rare, its unique qualities can give your readers a thrill as they’re active participants within your text.
Challenges of Writing in the Second Person
Writing in the second person can be challenging as authors often struggle with creating connections and prompting action with their readers.
To successfully write in the second-person POV, invoke a sense of empathy and provide your audience with clear direction to help maintain reader engagement. The purpose of the second-person POV is to encourage your readers to envision themselves within the story and to perform an action or make a decision.
Third-Person Point of View [Three Options]
1. Third-Person Limited Point of View
Third-person limited POV uses “he,” “she,” “they,” or character names to focus on an individual character’s thoughts and experiences. Although similar to first-person, the narrator’s emotions in third-person limited are not involved in the story.
This means that the narrator lives vicariously through a single character’s experiences and views the environment through that character’s eyes.
How to effectively use third-person limited POV in your writing
When writing in the third-person limited, have a firm understanding of who your central character is as it can develop a strong emotional connection between your readers and the main character.
2. Third-Person Omniscient Point of View
The third-person omniscient POV is similar to the third-person limited as it uses both “he,” “she,” “they,” or character names; however, the third-person omniscient POV provides insight into multiple characters’ thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
Therefore, the narrator is able to shift between different characters to provide various perspectives. With this freedom, the narrator can know everything and anything in a story compared to only an individual’s perspective in the third-person limited POV.
It also gives the narrator an opportunity to establish a presence within the text as they have the power to select which subjects to highlight without character involvement. Fundamentally, the narrator becomes a character within the story.
Tips for Writing in the Third-Person Omniscient POV
As you utilize the third-person omniscient POV, make sure you understand who your narrator is and who you want them to become in the story.
Additionally, create unique characters to offer a fresh and different perspective for your readers to enjoy.
Lastly, determine the degree of omniscience you want to use. Do you want your narrator to know everything in the story or do you want them to know only certain subject matter?
3. Third-Person Objective Point of View
Third-person objective POV is when the narrator keeps an unbiased stance throughout the narrative. Meaning that the narrator does not reveal the characters’ thoughts and feelings but only describes their actions and what’s happening to them in the story.
Challenges and considerations for writers
The most challenging part when writing in the third-person objective POV is maintaining the narrator’s distance from being involved with the characters. Yet, the narrator still must provide enough detail for the reader to engage with the story.
So, much of the story is left to the reader’s interpretation without any insight from the characters or the narrator.
3 Practical Steps in Choosing the Right Point of View
- Establish your narrator’s presence.
Understanding who you want your narrator to be is the first step in deciding what POV to use.
If you want your narrator to have a noticeable presence, consider using the first-person POV or the third-person omniscient POV.
But, if you want to create distance between your narrator and reader, consider using the third-person limited POV or the third-person objective POV.
- Decide how much you want your narrator to reveal.
After you establish your narrator’s presence, you can narrow down your list by deciding how much you want your narrator to reveal of each character’s motives.
If you want your narrator to reveal the thoughts of multiple characters, try using the third-person omniscient POV.
On the other hand, if you want your narrator to reveal the emotions of a single character, you can use the first-person POV or the third-person limited POV.
However, if you don’t want to reveal any character’s motives, use the third-person objective POV.
- Determine how many sides of the story you want to discuss.
Once you have a narrative in mind, understanding how many sides of the story you want to reveal has a big impact on the story’s development.
For example, to intimately highlight one or more perspectives in the text, you can utilize the first-person POV. Because of its versatility, you have the power to focus on only one narration or shift from narrator to narrator as each one offers a unique perspective.
Yet, if you have multiple main characters, using the third-person limited POV can be an efficient way of viewing the story from character to character. However, this technique does decrease the narrator’s intimacy with the audience.
To maintain the closeness of the narrator within each perspective, the third-person omniscient POV would best fit this role.
Lastly, if you choose to not focus on any side of the story, you can use the third-person objective POV to offer a generalized overview of the story’s events.
Using Different Points of View Successfully for Dietitians
Now that you have a good understanding of what point of view is, we’ll show you how a registered dietitian nutritionist can successfully use POV within their writing.
- First-Person POV
Dietitians can use the first-person POV when writing an autobiography or when sharing their own opinions about a nutrition-related subject.
- Second-Person POV
- Third-Person POV
Using the third-person POV can be helpful for dietitians when writing case studies about an individual or community. Depending on how much detail the dietitian wants to reveal to the readers, the third-person POV offers a variety of perspectives to choose from.
Using different points of view in your writing is a powerful tool for authors to develop their story in a diverse way. Whether you select the intimate first-person, immersive second-person, or panoramic third-person, each POV can create a story that is captivating and wonderfully distinct.
Therefore, as a dietitian author, you should experiment with the different points of views to enhance your narrative skills and create a deeper connection with your audience about nutrition.
Still need help with understanding POV? Check out this article by LitCharts for more helpful examples.