Point-of-View and the Nature of a Story

When I tell (write) a story, I visualize myself sitting with my ancient ancestors around the fire (that we had just recently tamed). I tell stories about my experiences, stories about other peoples’ experiences, and stories about the gods, the forces of nature, and mythic heroes. The first of these I tell in first person point-of-view. The other two are in third person, sometimes limited, sometimes omniscient, depending on the need of the story.

For first person POV, I’m talking about me.

For third person limited, I’m talking about how someone else felt and saw things. The story is from their perspective, but it is not something that I directly experienced.

For third person omniscient, I am talking as a narrator, not as a participant in the events. When I tell someone what happened between a couple of my friends, I do not tell the story as if I participated in their disagreement. I tell the story as an outsider who saw the event, but was not involved in the argument. I will likely say that person A thought “this” while person B thought “that,” but neither was correct because I knew “the other thing” was the answer. In our every day conversations, we often speak in third person omniscient; however, now days, that style is not common in written narratives.

My current project is first person POV because it is a memoir. (A true story about how I was accidentally taken to another world, met aliens, befriended a Dragon, saved that world, and ultimately saved Earth. Since no one believes the story is true, I label it as fiction to keep people from thinking something is wrong with me.)

The next story in the series will be in third person limited with multiple POV characters because I want to explore how the radically different characters each see the Universe and their place in it. (What does a Dragon think when an appetizing human is riding on his back?)

I recently wrote a short story in third person omniscient. It was the origin story for one of the characters in my current project. The narrator told us how this person found the path in life that led her to her destiny as a great hero.

I don’t have a preference because the need of the story dictates point-of-view. Sometimes the story needs to be explored in several POVs to find the one best suited.