The first person narrative style is a widely used point of view in fiction. The events that unfold in the story are filtered through the eyes of a narrator (hence the use of pronouns such as “I,” “me” and “my”), so the audience’s experience is coloured by their perspective. This type of narrative voice immediately connects with the viewer but is heavily biased by default.

Similar in function, yet critically different due to the fact that the narrator does not actively participate in the story, the third person narrative is perhaps the most commonly used perspective. In that sense, it provides the audience with some distance from the characters of the story and relies on pronouns such as “he”, “she” and “it” to enhance the feeling that the audience is a spectator of the events unfolding. 

Third person narratives are further differentiated into three distinct categories. In third person limited, the narrator is only aware of things that the characters know – following a single and consistent perspective at a time and thus, possessing limited knowledge of the story. In this regard, it’s very similar to the first person narrative; sharing the same knowledge, perspective and experience restrictions of a single character. Third person multiple allows the narrator to follow several characters, switch between them, according to the needs of the story and recount events from differing points of view. Adopting multiple perspectives on a series of events can be tricky for a writer and confusing for an audience, unless certain good practices are adhered to. The changes in point of view must be clear and should be justified by sound thematic reasoning. Furthermore, these switches should serve to carry the story forward as they are, more often than not, subplots that reveal an important aspect of the main plot or the main characters. Lastly, third person omniscient (which we will cover further on) is characterized by an all-knowing, God-like grasp of the plot; unbound by the limited perspectives of the characters. This narrator seemingly has boundless knowledge of the goals, motivations, intentions, back stories, inner thoughts and emotions of everyone involved in the story. This holistic perspective, allows him or her to present a precise and intuitive telling of the story – with an understanding of interconnected events. 

Less frequently used than the previous two voices, is the second person – in which the story is told as though the audience is the character telling the story. The key to achieving this perception shift is the use of “you” and “your” pronouns – making this an instantly applicable point of view for instructional content (manuals, how-to’s, recipes etc). The audience becomes the driving force of the story, instantly immersed into the action. It is the most direct and difficult to execute among all the types of narratives, as it provides an extremely personal way to experience the narrative.