Point of View (POV) and the narrator are key to the way everything is viewed and experienced in fiction. POV defines the narrator, and the narrator, who is just as much of a character as the protagonist, has significant control over the story's\u00a0voice. Below, we look at point of view in depth, considering details like 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person, as well as choice of vernacular, setting and metaphors. Read on for the keys to unlocking your\u00a0narrator's point of view...\r\n\r\n\r\nPoint of View\u00a0Options\r\nA story can change completely depending on the POV chosen, and each POV has its own unique relationship with the narrator. Literary Devices: Point Of View is a great article for information on writing in the different POV options.\r\nThe choice of point-of-view will largely determine all other choices with regards to style, diction, characteristic speed of sentences and so on. What the writer must consider, obviously, is the extent to which point-of-view, and all that follow from it, comments on the characters, actions, and ideas.\u201d\u00a0\u2013 John Gardne\r\n1st person POV\r\n1st person POV naturally leans towards developing the narrating character, because, as a participating character, their personality should already exist. But actively merging the character and narration language with words and wording from the character\u2019s perspective can make for an even stronger piece.\r\n\r\nFor best results in 1st person POV, the narrating character should be extremely well-developed in the writer\u2019s mind. Although a generalised personality added to the mass appeal of Stephenie Meyer\u2019s Twilight Saga by allowing readers to imprint their personality on Bella, Suzanne Collin\u2019s Hunger Games Trilogy received equal mass appeal with the strong narration of Katniss, plus greater literary\u00a0acclaim. It's also worth noting that 1st person is a common POV used in YA fiction in general.\r\n2nd person POV\r\n2nd person POV is considered the most difficult to use in fiction, but there are helpful resources, and successful novels, such as Jay McInerney\u2019s Bright Lights, Big City, to help you get a feel for the writing style. After deciding whether the \u201cyou\u201d is the narrator is referring to himself\/herself, addressing another character or addressing the reader, careful word choices can portray the narrator personality and allude to the narrator-character-reader relationship. This reduces a lot of confusion that can come from reading this POV.\r\n3rd person POV: unlimited, limited and alternating\r\n3rd person unlimited is the well-known omniscient narrator. While this narrator unfortunately can\u2019t be based on a character, the voice of a strongly characterized narrator can be used for that extra depth. A great example of this is the narrator in Douglas Adam\u2019s The Hitchhiker\u2019s Guide to the Galaxy who enjoys going off on quirky and often humorous tangents. (Click here for some quick tips on creating a great narrator personality.)\r\nCuriously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.\u201d \u2013 Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker\u2019s Guide to the Galaxy\r\n3rd person POV limited has qualities of 1st person POV; the narration follows a single character\u2019s experiences and thoughts, but without using \u201cI\u201d, \u201cme\u201d or \u201cmy\u201d. This focused narrator can have a plain personality, a developed unique personality, or reflect the focal character through narration language as 1st person POV leans towards. Matching wording to the character in the latter option is an invaluable tool for extensive and subtle character development, as the most basic descriptions become a window: the world is shown through the character\u2019s eyes, and the character is revealed through their world-view.\r\n\r\n3rd person POV alternating is the same as 3rd person POV limited, except the focal character changes or alternates with scene or chapter breaks. If the narrator reflects the focal character, the narrator can also change with the focal character. Alternating narrators can produce some really unique and interesting effects, as author Sara Zarr explains:\r\nWhen the reader and one narrator know something the other narrator does not, the opportunities for suspense and plot development and the shifting of reader sympathies get really interesting.\u201d\r\nChoosing the\u00a0right vernacular\r\nThe narrator\u2019s personality, whether based on another character or not, is the foundation for every word you write. Likewise, the right vernacular can allude to the narrating character\u2019s overall world-view, as well as their specific interests, hobbies and background information. A single adjective choice can portray a very different narrating character; the invigorating run, the challenging run and the barely-survivable run all indicate different characters with different athletic abilities and interests. This is where you really get to dig into that character profile \u2014 or start writing one up with some sample questions!\r\nSetting and Description\r\nIf every aspect of a scene were described it would go on forever, so how do you choose what to describe and what not to? Everyone sees the world differently. When describing setting, consider what the narrating character would notice. Some features, such as a raging dinosaur, every character would notice and describe. However, some would be more likely to notice the colour, or the sound or the smell. In addition, not all characters would notice a teddy bear sitting in a corner of a cluttered room, and their noticing could be mixed with a feeling of fondness, or of loss. In this way, not only is a scene described, but aspects of the character\u2019s personality or back-story is alluded to.\r\nIt is impossible to powerfully capture a place via objective description\u2014at least to capture it in a way that readers will not skim. Only through the eyes and heart of a character does place come truly alive.\u201d \u2013 Donald Maass,\u00a0The Fire in Fiction\r\nVocabulary levels, sentence structure and the use contractions and slang in description can convey the age, education and socioeconomic standing of the narrating character. A seven-year-old is unlikely to use or even know the word \u201cornate\u201d or \u201cjugular\u201d. Of course, breaking expectations can lead to great effects. If a child narrator sounded very adult, he\/she is likely to have a very interesting history, as long as it is established that the narrator isn\u2019t an adult reflecting on their childhood.\r\nMetaphors and Similes\r\nUsing metaphors and similes is a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears; you need to use just the right amount. But that \u201cright\u201d amount is different for every story. Consider the dilemma through the narrator or focal character: how often would they use metaphors or similes? If the character is a seasoned soldier, it\u2019s possible the answer is never. Unless the seasoned soldier has a secret passion for poetry, and, if that passion were immense and suppressed, the narration could be full of all the metaphors and similes bursting from within the character\u2019s heart.\r\n\r\nHow a character uses metaphors and similes may also vary; one may often describe objects as animals (\u201cthe teapot was a broody hen\u201d, \u201cshe walked like a panther\u201d), and one may regularly use metaphors or similes to describe setting (\u201cthe tree was a skyscraper\u201d, \u201cthe station felt like a cave\u201d).\r\nDialogue\r\nLearning how to choose the words that the character would is also important when writing dialogue. Consider the same issues that arise with writing setting, description, metaphors and similes in the focal character\u2019s voice. Remember to consider interests, vocabulary levels, slang and what aspects of their personality they keep hidden. Matching the narration voice with the dialogue voice of the focal character strengthens the credibility of the narrator and the depth that the narrator appears to reflect the character.\r\n* * *\r\nBy adding to the POV choice with a strong narrator character, a piece becomes deeper and more personal. People relate to people, and whether you are a character-driven writer or not, you can use narrating characters to portray your story in a unique and engaging way.\r\nWhat is most important to me is that my narrator's voice is believable, and that, though it is clearly an absolute fiction, it has the emotional resonance of memoir.\u201d \u2013 Chris Bohjalian\r\nPOV is the starting point for everything; it plays such a foundational role in writing that simply taking the time to consider words through the narrating character\u2019s personality brings the whole work to a new level. Who will be the narrator of your next story?