The PointOfView of a book is the type of narration a writer uses to convey a story to the reader. There are several types:

* '''First-Person Narration:''' I, me, we, us. A story told in first-person is written as if the SympatheticPOV were narrating directly to the reader. We get to know this narrator very well, but are limited by the fact that we can't see what the narrator doesn't. If something important is happening on the other side of the world and there's no way to get the narrator there, then it can't be witnessed first-hand; they'll have to hear about it from somebody else after the fact. Furthermore, this opens up the possibility of an UnreliableNarrator: a narrator who isn't telling the truth, either due to [[InnocentInaccurate lack of awareness]] ("Why do people always react to me like that??") or deliberate lying. In addition, it also raises the question of how the narrator remembered the events in such detail, down to the exact dialogue, unless they explicitly have photographic memory. In a first-person story, the narrator is normally the main character; aversions are covered by the trope FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator. See ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby'', ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye'', ''Literature/TheVirginSuicides'', ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' and (if you really must) ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''.
** Note that this is different from a story with a {{Narrator}} in it. If a character is talking about what happened to [[Franchise/WinnieThePooh Pooh Bear]], he's a Narrator. If the character doing the talking ''is'' Pooh Bear, it's 1st-Person. A FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator can blur this line.
* '''SecondPersonNarration:''' You. The story is told ''about'' the reader, who is addressed as if s/he were [[NoFourthWall a character in the story]] ("You dashed your drink across Sam's face, offended that he would even suggest such a thing"). Rarely used outside of dialogue, bad fanfic and InteractiveFiction stories: it gets taxing in long doses, and, well... What if that's not what the reader would actually ''do'' in this situation? Putting words in the reader's mouth that way can kill the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. 2nd-person can try to to compensate by making the reader a FeaturelessProtagonist, but that doesn't always work either (in addition to reducing the interestingness of the ''character'', and thus the reader's investment in him/her/it). Examples of 2nd-person stories include ''Aura'' by Carlos Fuentes and ''Bright Lights, Big City''.
* '''Third-Person Narration:''' 3rd-person uses he, she, them, they; there is no "you" or "I", except in dialogue. It comes in a number of flavors:
** Objective/Dramatic is an infrequently-used mode in which the story only relates ''observable'' phenomena, without ever delving into any character's thoughts or feelings (ConfessionCam notwithstanding). Makes the piece feel like a documentary.
** Limited/Subjective is the most common POV choice in modern literature. This narration adheres to a SympatheticPOV the way 1st-person does, getting the reader inside that character's head but also allowing the depiction of reactions or other things the character isn't aware of (TheNoseBleed, for instance). If the pronouns could be changed to first person without losing any comprehension, this is the POV you're in. See the Literature/HarryPotter series, ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour''.
*** The analogy between first-person and third-person limited is strong enough that fanfic writers will say that a third-person limited section is in a ''character's'' POV -- that is, this character would be "I" if the section were shifted to first person. This is not standard, in part because it's dangerously easy for third-person to slip into omniscient on short notice.
** Multiple narrators: the story describes the actions and thoughts of more than one character. The different points of view might be separated by section breaks (Creator/StephenKing's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower''), by chapters (George R. R. Martin's ''ASongOfIceAndFire''), or even just by shifting to a new paragraph (Frank Herbert's ''{{Dune}}''; warning: DontTryThisAtHome). This gives the reader a ''much'' wider breadth and depth of knowledge, by allowing the reader to see multiple events, or the same event through a number of different eyes; if used carefully, it can even [[TheRashomon make the reader doubt what they saw in the first place]]. However, it can be difficult for the reader to decide who the main character is (if there ''is'' one), which some readers dislike, and the switching can break WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief if handled badly.
** True omniscient: the story is described from an external perspective, and any character's thoughts and feelings may be delved into. Often confused with multiple narrators. A truly omniscient narrator doesn't need scene breaks to switch to a different point of view, and won't stick to one character for a whole scene, because then the scene would be in third person limited. This was the most common POV in literature before the twentieth century. In modern times it is particularly associated with works with an "epic" feel to them, such as ''TheLordOfTheRings''.
*** Universal omniscient, in which the narrator has access to information that nobody in the story could logically know ("Little did they know that the dog was actually Count Basingdorfer in disguise!!"). See [[LemonyNarrator Lemony Snicket's]] interjections in ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents.
* '''[[MultipleNarrativeModes Multiple-viewpoint]]:''' This is any story which ''combines'' any or all of the above narrative modes (TadWilliams' ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'').
** This does ''not'' cover things like stylistic blend (having a single authorial aside in the Universal Omniscient style) or occasional rule-breaking (for instance, Franchise/HarryPotter should theoretically never have chapters that are not from Harry's point of view, but in total there are quite a few, including a DreamSequence and a partial-chapter slip in [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone Book 1 Chapter 11]]). See SwitchingPOV, which is a bit more lax about that last.

Related tropes:
* FirstPersonPerspective
* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator is when the first person narrator is not the the protagonist of the narration.
* The PrivateEyeMonologue is also written in 1st person.
* TheAllConcealingI is about certain benefits of first-person narration.
* FirstPersonSmartass is [[CaptainObvious pretty obvious]].
* TheRashomon is a variation on omniscient viewpoint that can be used outside literature as well.
* A similar trope is SympatheticPOV.
* SupportingProtagonist
* NonPOVProtagonist: [[{{Deuteragonist}} All the main characters]] have [[SwitchingPOV chapters narrated from their point of view]]... except this one.
* IntroOnlyPointOfView
----