Point of View

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You may also be looking for Fanlore's PPOV policy: Fanlore:Plural Point of View. Or the Star Trek: TNG story Points of View

Synonyms: viewpoint
See also: tense
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Point of View, often used as acronym "POV" or "PoV", is a term commonly used in fandom for the stories written from a particular character’s point of view.

In short fiction who tells the story and how it is told are critical issues for an author to decide. The tone and feel of the story, and even its meaning, can change radically depending on who is telling the story. For fic readers and writers, point of view is important enough that many fanfics on the Archive of Our Own are labeled with this information; for example, the POV Stiles tag lists Teen Wolf stories featuring Stiles Stilinski as the point-of-view character.

Less often in fandom, "point of view" is used more broadly to contrast first person, second person, or third person narration. Third-person limited is by far the most common narrative POV in fanfic, though alternating POVs of multiple characters is also reasonably popular. Second-person appears most often in imagines. First-person is often used in Noir Detective AUs. First-person fic has trended at certain times (early 2000s?) and in certain fandoms[1], but according to Slash Report in 2014, is currently verboten in most fandoms.[2] Some fans consider use of first- or second-person to be a sign of badfic. However, although fans have strong preferences, these preferences may differ depending on the type of canon. In television fandoms, third-person reigns supreme. But some litfic fandoms (such as Sherlock Holmes and Jeeves & Wooster) are based on books written in first-person, so many fans prefer fanfiction that mimics the canon POV. Other fans enjoy the use of different POVs, because these can offer different perspectives on the source material.

POV issues are often covered in fanfic writing guides such as The Craft of Writing. See also Fanfiction#Writing_Style.


  1. Discussion #2: AU or Canon, First person or Third person (in Use For Your Words, a Hanson fanfic discussion community)
  2. after the 20-minute mark of Slash Report episode 4x17 "Ask Us Anything B" July 2014