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First Person Limited; Third Person Omniscient

Authors can use various points of view when writing a story. There's first-person limited, which uses I, me, and myself, and is told from one character's perspective. This point of view (POV) usually remains in one character's head. We, as the readers, see everything through that person's eyes and are thus limited in how much we can know about the other characters and events of the story.

As you can imagine, this is a very restrictive perspective, and thus hard to write without boring readers. Unless the main character—or author, really—is uber-perceptive about the world around them, readers can grow tired of the narrator's voice. They can tire of the personality and inner-musings of that one character rather quickly. 

Third-person POV is more versatile. This perspective takes on multiple points of view using the pronouns he, she, and it instead of the first person pronouns. Third-person omniscient is the most God-like. It can see into everyone's heads. It knows the back stories of the heroes and the villains. Les Miserables, Dickens' books and Shakespeare's plays are all written from this third person omniscient POV.

These stories are easier to write and read but are less common these days. Not surprisingly, writing from a God-like perspective is out of vogue.

Third-person limited is the POV of today's stories. This POV is taken from one or two people's perspectives without omniscient knowledge of the other characters. I think third-person limited is trendy right now because it is the most dramatic way to write. Authors can reveal information at just the right time to keep their stories suspenseful, to keep the reader's guessing, and to shed light on previously confusing matters. 

In the real world, we live from a first-person-limited POV. We only see the world through our own eyes. We don't get to peek into the other character's minds except through what they tell us or what we perceive. And the fact of the matter is, this can make for a rather boring life story if we remain in our own head.

In fact, I wonder if sometimes, boredom is a sign that we've been listening to our own narrative far too long. We've been droning on and on about the same difficulties to others; or we've repeated the same scolding lines to ourselves over and over again; or we're stuck re-digging up the same old wounds; or we keep reliving our old victories in our imaginations.


But when we celebrate other's triumphs, look at their old family photos, listen without interrupting to their groaning, see the world through their eyes, the story can become engaging once again. We get a peek into a third-person-limited POV. 

Now, when we start listening to God's story—what he's doing in the world and in other's lives—we get to peek into a third-person-omniscient perspective. We see more and more facets of this story unfolding. It becomes more dynamic and interesting and exciting. But we have to be willing to see the world through other's lives, and that means we have to quiet our own inner narratives long enough to listen. 


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