One of the first things on which you need to decide when writing a story is point-of-view.


The four categories are:


First Person
In a first-person narrative the story is relayed by a narrator who is also a character within the story, so that the narrator reveals the plot by referring to this viewpoint character as “I” (or, when plural, “we”).


Second Person
The rarest mode in literature is the second-person narrative mode, in which the narrator refers to the reader as “you”, therefore making the audience member feel as if he or she is a character within the story.


Third Person
In the third-person narrative mode, each and every character is referred to by the narrator as “he”, “she”, “it”, or “they”.


Omniscient Viewpoint
This is similar to Third Person, but told from the perspective of an outside, all-knowing source.


First Person and Third Person are the most common. Omniscient Viewpoint went out of style a long time ago and Second Person only works for pretty specific books (the Choose Your Own Adventure kind).


Up till now, I’d always written exclusively in Third Person, but, for Russian Dolls, I felt drawn toward First Person. I couldn’t really say what it was that sealed the deal but I guess it just was a better fit to my story. Russian Dolls is a character-driven story; it follows closely the adventures of a young woman drawn to investigate the murder of a friend, who subsequently stumbles into the sleuthing world.


Each POV has its pros and cons. First Person is a good fit for crime, mysteries and thrillers. It allows you to expose clues slowly, keep your cards close to your vest and surprise readers. But first person POV is a double-sided coin; it can become a real pain in the bum at times, because you are locked into your narrator’s head and you can’t show anything that doesn’t happen directly to him or her. It forces writers to be creative with their story structure.


Third Person works the opposite way. You can have several POV characters, and are allowed to switch narrators throughout your story. You can show more, and are not hindered in any way to reveal crucial plot points. But it also has its drawbacks: it can get messy, very easily. Rule number one is to not have too many POV characters. And then you have to be really careful about whose head you’re in at all times. Lastly, you also need to be careful about the level of exposure you give each POV character. It’s important to explain their goals, and show your readers who they are and what they’re made off, if you want to entice readers to care for them.


Bottom line: both systems work and the choice is totally up to you. It depends on your taste, the type of story you want to tell, and your skills as a writer.


I, he, she, we wish you a nice day,
– Cristelle