POV In Fanfiction

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
Here's a quick reminder on the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POV. We'll also share resources helpful for finding tips, hints, etc. on writing in the author’s choice POV.


1st Person POV
“I/Me”

A story, told by the narrator. These stories are limited as being told by the character writing the story. It’s less all-encompassing.

2nd Person POV
“You/Your”

A story told directly to ‘you’. This style is not common in fanfiction.


3rd Person POV
“He/She His/Hers They/Theirs”

A story about he, she, or they. This is the most common type of writing in fanfiction. The author is able to tap into characters, their experiences, their thoughts, and their characteristics as necessary.

What point of view do you most commonly use while writing fanfiction? What tips do you have for other authors who are writing in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person POV in their own stories?
 

JMilz

Moderator
I generally use third person for fanfiction, but sometimes I will use first person for original stories.

When using first person, it's important to take ownership of the main character's narrative. The reader should always know more about their thoughts and feelings, but know little about the thoughts and feelings about others. The opposite is true for third person. You may not understand their thoughts and feelings quite as much as you would for a first person story, but you have more insight into all involved parties.
 

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
I love reading third person fanfiction most, but there have been a few first-person stories that captivated me!
 
I think maybe 1st person can be difficult to do well, because it's just too easy to get caught up in a character's thoughts vs. actually describing what's going on in the story. I've read one 1st person POV that was done extremely well, and that author made sure to keep the thought-monologue to a minimum and describe clearly their reactions to what was happening in the story in a realistic way--i.e., short sentences for surprise, longer sentences when they were bored, etc.
 

Lady Maven

New member
I have typically written third person, but I wanted to challenge myself. My five-part Stars series is all done first person, with a new character each book. It has really made me step back and tell the story using ONLY what that character could conceivably know or would have had a valid reason to be told.
 

Blue Kat

New member
I'm definitely in the minority here, but first person tends to be my default for writing. It's always come the most naturally to me, I suppose, and there's a certain emotional intimacy that I find harder to achieve with third person.
 

Tsubasa Kurono

New member
I do not have a preference between first- and third-person narratives, and I'd use whichever I believe is the best to portray the story and the message in the fanfic to the readers. However, I do not like second-person narrative unless the writer actually knows and understands how to utilize such a narrative style properly. (Let's just say I'm not a fan of it thanks to the oversaturation of Canon Character x Reader fanfics on Wattpad and 99% of them are poorly written.)

For third-person, I am extremely particular about writers who use it as an excuse to constantly switch POVs within the same scene/chapter too often. While third-person is not as strict as first-person when it comes to writing about the other characters' perspectives, it is not an excuse to be lazy and jump around into different characters' mind to tell the readers what they are thinking, when the right way should be showing the readers what they are thinking through the actions that the main narrator of the scene can see, feel, and make intelligent inference from.

I use first-person most in epistolary writing for obvious reasons.
 

JMilz

Moderator
I do not have a preference between first- and third-person narratives, and I'd use whichever I believe is the best to portray the story and the message in the fanfic to the readers. However, I do not like second-person narrative unless the writer actually knows and understands how to utilize such a narrative style properly. (Let's just say I'm not a fan of it thanks to the oversaturation of Canon Character x Reader fanfics on Wattpad and 99% of them are poorly written.)

For third-person, I am extremely particular about writers who use it as an excuse to constantly switch POVs within the same scene/chapter too often. While third-person is not as strict as first-person when it comes to writing about the other characters' perspectives, it is not an excuse to be lazy and jump around into different characters' mind to tell the readers what they are thinking, when the right way should be showing the readers what they are thinking through the actions that the main narrator of the scene can see, feel, and make intelligent inference from.

I use first-person most in epistolary writing for obvious reasons.
Second-person most certainly can be a challenge. I'd be interested to see if anyone could do it well.
 

Blue Kat

New member
Second-person most certainly can be a challenge. I'd be interested to see if anyone could do it well.
I have a hard time reading a lot of second person, mostly because of the "Y/N" abbreviation. It completely throws me out of the story, largely because my brain ends up replacing it with something that sounds like "Why-en" instead of my actual name. If I were better at coding, I would totally create a fanfic Chrome extension that replaces all instances of "Y/N" with your actual name.
 

Tsubasa Kurono

New member
I have a hard time reading a lot of second person, mostly because of the "Y/N" abbreviation. It completely throws me out of the story, largely because my brain ends up replacing it with something that sounds like "Why-en" instead of my actual name. If I were better at coding, I would totally create a fanfic Chrome extension that replaces all instances of "Y/N" with your actual name.
You can consider making visual novels out of fanfics. (VN is a game even if the player-game interaction is minimal in most cases.) In VN, there are codes that can display the player's name throughout the story. I used to make simple VNs for my college assignments, though VN is a very niche genre in the game market.

I think it's a good way to get more people into VN with fanfics + fanarts to add another dimension into the fandom.
 

Blue Kat

New member
You can consider making visual novels out of fanfics. (VN is a game even if the player-game interaction is minimal in most cases.) In VN, there are codes that can display the player's name throughout the story. I used to make simple VNs for my college assignments, though VN is a very niche genre in the game market.

I think it's a good way to get more people into VN with fanfics + fanarts to add another dimension into the fandom.
That's really interesting! I think I was sort of aware that VN was a thing, but I never would've thought about that as a potential solution. I really love the potential of combining fanfic and fanart in that medium, too.
 

ScorpiusRose17

New member
First and Third. I like being able to explore the voice of the character while using 1st person, especially when you have a picture in your mind of who and what the character is like. I think it gives a better opportunity to pick their personality traits to go along with the ones we already know they have. Third person is just as fun to write as 1st, but I feel like the opportunities aren't as plentiful as 1st person writing. I love reading 2nd person. I am not good at writing in 2nd person, but I love reading those who are talented at it.
 
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