POV In Fanfiction


New member
I'd say I prefer third person, but I've definitely written my share of first person and enjoyed fiction written in first person. First person I think has more potential to be problematic, and it's hard for me to articulate why, but I think it's because it's easy to get trapped in the MC's mind and not pay enough attention to the feelings and motivations of other characters or find a way to express those. I think first person can also make self-insertion more of a danger.

I have written one fic in second person and was pretty happy with how it turned out. The "you" actually refers to one of the characters, so it's not "you the reader John or Jane," it's more "you the reader in the shoes of the MC," if that makes sense. It's a Minerva/Myrtle ship and the "you" is Minerva, so that the reader will identify with her.

Pomona Nymphadora Scamander

Well-known 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

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

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?
I started off writing in 3rd person but as I read more and more 1st person fics, I started to find it easier to write 1st person.

Personally, I prefer 1st person as it gives you an insight into the characters thoughts and feelings.
Okay... so, time for some ranting... bear with me.

1st person is probably the most difficult type of writing there is and since I am a perfectionist, I usually give up after a few paragraphs. I've written it before in a way that satisfied me to an extent, but it was a 2-thousand-words-long one-shot about a character I heavily identified with.

Whenever I'm betaing someone who's writing in 1st person... I always ask them why they are writing it. Is it necessary? The thing is... 1st person creates heavy limitations for the narration, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Are you (general you) using the advantages of this writing style? Usually, the answer is a big NOPE, which means the limitations of such narration are not worth it.


One of the very few stories in 1st person that I like is the Percy Jackson series. How does a 1st person narration add to the story, then? Simple: it sets a tone to the story and throws the reader right inside the protagonist's head, leading and misleading them from time to time. It also helps the reader to relate to the narrator, who could otherwise be seen as less human.

Problem with the vast majority of the 1st person fics I read in the last 20 years (or something? XD) is: the 1st person doesn't make a difference whatsoever and only serves to add inconsistency after inconsistency due to the writer failure to keep the narrator in-character throughout the entire story. In addition to that, it limits the view-point, keeping the reader alienated from the rest of the characters and the side plots.

Honestly, I largely discourage people to write in 1st person unless there's a good reason for them to do it. Personally, I rarely write it either.