How do you decide POV?


How do you decide what point of view to write from?  I asked my instructor this exact question last week because frankly, I don’t know the answer.  I’ve written from both perspectives and just always sort of gone with my gut, but is there a formula, some way to know for sure, which to use in fiction writing?  Her response was no, there is no right way to write.

I’ve heard that before “no right way to write” and I get it, I think.  But just because there isn’t a right way doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.

I asked her about POV after my protagonist’s goal assignment, because I had turned in my character description using 1st person and I sort of loved my protagonist’s voice.  I turned in my goal using 3rd person omniscient, because that was what my story is written in, and after comparing the two I realized I liked the events told directly by the protagonist.  This made me nervous, had I written it wrong???  I felt the urge to throw out the entire manuscript and start over, but that was A LOT of work and it’s a good story.  She told me that she had recently encountered a similar situation in her own writing and spent six months transferring her novel from 3rd to 1st POV.  I went back and rewrote my first chapter into 1st, as well as my protagonist’s goal, to see how I felt about my story.  I also had a couple of readers look at it and they both agreed it was more captivating and easier to get caught up in when they were reading from the protagonist’s POV.

I agree with them, so I’m rewriting my book as we speak.  I mean, what’s another few months work on something I’ve already invested so much time into?  If I’m going to do this, then I need to make it the best it can be.  I may not be able to write it right, but I can write it better.


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