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Getting the POV (Point-of-View) right can be a challenge if you are a new writer. When I started experimenting with writing, I had no clue about the POVs at all. While I read hundreds of books, I never consciously thought about the “point of view,” it all seemed natural. But it was only when I started writing that I realized how important it is to get the POV right—otherwise the reader is bound to get confused and frustrated.

This graphic should somewhat alleviate the difficulties in understanding POVs and how you can decide what you want to go with. Once you’re familiar with this matrix, you can look at any book you have and decide your style. I am not one for rigid rules. My current book, The Atlantis Papyrus has both Limited 1st person and Limited 3rd person in past and present styles.

Jay Penner's POV cheat sheet

The second person narrative is not shown here. It is extremely unusual for fiction to be written with “You” where the narrator is referring to the reader.

This is meant to be a living document made better by your feedback and improvement ideas. It is by no means perfect—I am a learner just as you are.

You can also check this reddit thread with readers’ comments

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About Jay Penner

Jay Penner writes fast-paced, realistic ancient historical fiction. His highly-rated books regularly feature in category bestsellers on Amazon. He is the author of Spartacus, Cleopatra, and Whispers of Atlantis series. Reach out to him or subscribe to his popular newsletter.

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