I hope you're getting a nugget or two of things to think about when it comes to point of view. At the very least, just being more conscious of the different types and what it means for your writing can be just another tool for you to use if things aren't going well.
Second Person POV: I grew up reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books. Loved them. With these books YOU become the protagonist. Rare these days, but still fun.
Third Person Limited POV: I personally write most of my stuff in this POV. I feel it gives my reader a chance to still get cozy with my main character without limiting them to just one protagonist. I write stories with subplots and such, and I like using the episodic (multiple) version of 3rd Person Limited. Some authors will change the viewpoint (not the POV) with each chapter. Other times, if an author is changing viewpoints, they might denote that with a hard break of some sort. I use # # # #, for example.
Third Person Limited Pros:
1)With this POV, the author gets to show you the viewpoint from multiple characters, which can also give the story and characters more development and dimension. You can get into the mind of the villain and/or secondary characters. This POV is great for bigger stories with multiple story arcs.
2) It allows for a lot of dramatic irony - the reader might know something the protagonist doesn't know.
3) You get the best of both worlds: you can still create that closeness between your reader and your protagonist(s), like First Person POV, but you can also give us the thoughts of other characters, similar to 3rd Person Omniscient.
Third Person Limited Cons:
1) I don't recommend this POV for beginning writers. It is very difficult to maintain the limited nature of this POV at times. I'm constantly having to go back and edit things. For example:
Tom smiled. (If you're writing in 3rd person limited, and we're seeing things from Tom's perspective, this doesn't make sense).
So we have to change it to: Tom felt a smile creep across his face.
2) You have to keep track of so much stuff (if writing in 3rd Person Episodic/Multiple). Since you're entering the viewpoint of multiple characters one at a time, you're giving the reader multiple perspectives...think about that. You not only have to keep plot straight, but each character's thoughts and perceptions straight as well.
3) It's a lot of work to make each characters' voice distinct. If you're using multiple viewpoints, it will take a lot of skill to make sure each voice is different from each other. Not as easy as it sounds.
Third Person Omniscient POV: Still very popular, where the narrator is an unknown all-knowing being. Here, we get the perspectives of any and all characters in any given scene. There's two main types of Omniscient: Subjective and Objective. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to think of Objective as a "fly on a wall." Just an outside observer that doesn't delve into any of the characters' minds. I'm going to focus on 3rd Person Subjective, since it's much more common these days.
Third Person Omnicient Pros:
1) It's one of the oldest forms of storytelling, so the reader is already very familiar with this mode of POV
2) The reader gets to know multiple characters at the same time. From a writer's standpoint, it's very liberating to not be so confined.
3) If you're writing a gigantic, epic story, this is the POV you should really use. If your story spans years, worlds, and tons of characters, this is the way to go.
Third Person Omniscient Cons:
1) Since you're entering multiple characters even within one scene, it's easy to confuse the reader. Hopping from one person's thoughts to another can make for a mess.
2) Sometimes, your story will lack that intimacy they might have with their protagonist. Since you're giving us everyone's thoughts, the reader might feel that distance.
3) Since your narrator is all-knowing, the reader can be left in the dark with some things to build suspense, but it can be tricky in this POV, as we've all read stories with surprises and twists and we felt manipulated by the narrator. So the risk of being gimmicky is always there with 3rd Person Omniscient (think M. Night Shamalanalannadingdong).
Blogging since 2005.
Medical sales warrior by day, writing ninja by night...
I am the author of The Mechanica Wars series. The first book, Dragonfly Warrior, will be published in January, 2014 by 4 Wing Press.
I love science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, biographies, and chocolate chip cookies.