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 cheatsheet

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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cover image for The Atlantis Papyrus
standalone 449 pages e+print
The Atlantis Papyrus

Some secrets are best left buried.

“pure enjoyment…”

A frequent #1 on Amazon’s Ancient Egyptian History bestseller lists.

323 B.C., Babylon

King Alexander the Great has died, and his bloodthirsty generals quarrel for the pieces of a vast empire. But Captain Deon faces his own nightmare, born of a shameful past: a vicious lender threatens to sell his wife and young daughter into slavery if he does not clear his crippling debt.

Hope glimmers when the dead king’s wily secretary dangles a mission that whispers of an unimaginable reward.

Thrust into the murky and dangerous waters of succession where his success holds the keys to the ultimate prize, Alexander’s throne, Deon faces a terrifying choice: complete the mission and earn his family’s freedom, or refuse and let them perish in Nubia’s brutal gold mines.

Assisted by a companion as skilled in tongues as she is with a dagger, and pursued by malignant forces that will stop at nothing, Deon must cross violent lands to find an astonishing mystery hidden for a thousand years. But every step closer to freedom unveils a burden far heavier than his debt, for his choices could determine not only his family’s fate but that of a million innocents.

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cover image for Regent
360 pages e+print

51 B.C., Alexandria, Egypt

Some wells have poisoned waters.

With her father sick and her sister dead by his hands, sixteen-year-old Cleopatra is poised to assume the heavy mantle of power and exercise the divine authority vested in her by the gods of Egypt.

But the gilded arches and marble columns hide a grim reality and the gathering of storm clouds. A surly Rome is banging on her doors for debt repayments, the kingdom is on the verge of a civil war, and the dying king’s powerful advisors seek to discard her like a rag and control the kingdom through her brother.

Now, the young regent must confront her adversaries and walk the tightrope over an abyss of treachery and conflict, because one wrong move means ending three thousand years of Pharaonic rule and turning up as a corpse in the Alexandrian marshes.

About Jay Penner

Jay Penner’s highly-rated books regularly feature Amazon’s category bestseller lists. Try his Spartacus, Cleopatra, Whispers of Atlantis or Dark Shadows books. Reach out to him or subscribe to his popular newsletter.

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