What are the different points of view one can write from? I understand the basic first person (I) and third person (he/she), but I hear the term "limited" and "omniscient" a lot in point of view discussions, and I don't really understand what that means.


Third limited is from a single point of view, but not from the "I" (first person) point of view. He said, he saw, he knew. You're sitting on his shoulder, seeing everything from his perspective, with limited, but not personal, access to his thoughts. Alice in Wonderland is told from third person limited (or third person subjective, as some people call it).

Third omniscient is a gods-eye view. You see everything. You see everyone. But you're not seeing it from behind anyone's eyes. You're seeing the whole scene from the perspective of someone who can see everything that's going on. The Lord of the Rings is in 3rd person omniscient.

There is also Second Person, which is pretty uncommon. That's where the reader is included in the story as a character. Instead of "I" and "We" or "He" and "She", you get a lot of "You" and "Your". Think Choose your own adventure novels. Or a number of things by Iain Banks, who is pretty fond of it. In The Player of Games the story is told in Third Limited, but the narrator occasionally breaks out of the story and offers editorial content to the listener via Second Person.

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