Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. We may choose to tell our story in
- first person, using "I" or "we";
- third person ("he," "she," "it"), which can be limited or omniscient; or
- second person, "you," the least common point of view.
Third Person Point of View
Though first person can be powerful, as the examples above illustrate, third person is actually the more versatile point of view. Third person allows you to create a much richer, more complicated universe. A book such as Anna Karenina, for example, could only have been written in third person. One reader, Wendy, put it this way: "When I write in first person, I tend to make the story more personal to me, which can limit how far I will go with a character. Third person isn't as much about me, and I can be much freer with the plot."
Try a New Point of View
Nevertheless, beginning writers tend to fall back on first person, either because it's easier or because they are indeed writing about themselves. Even if your story is autobiographical, consider trying third person. Doing this will actually help you to view your story more dispassionately and therefore allow you to tell it more effectively. It might also show you directions for the story you haven't considered before.
At first, it may be easiest to use third person limited, which still adheres closely to one person's point of view. As your plots become more complicated, you may find you need more than one point of view to tell your story and begin to use omniscient.
If you keep hitting a wall in a story or novel, consider switching point of view. For most people, this will involve going from first person to third. Beginning writers may groan at the idea of rewriting an entire story, but for professional writers, such experimentation is par for the course. If it's your first time to consider such a switch, this point-of-view exercise will lead you through it. You might also read a discussion on point of view from a blog post. In it, a number of writers share what's worked for them regarding point of view.