Point of view…

A couple of months ago an author on Facebook posted that she was thinking about writing a future book in the First person point of view and asked for opinions on the idea.   I learned a couple of things from the comments that followed.

The most important is that, wow, people are rude in their bluntness.  I know that I shouldn’t be surprised but it amazes me that people are so up front about being rude.  These aren’t direct quotes just the general sentiment that I remember reading a few months ago.

– Yuck!  I’d never read it.

– I hate books like that.

– I put books back if I pick it up and it starts out with ‘I’.

…and my personal favorite

– I’ll never read your books again if you do this.

The second thing I learned is that some people like first person and third person equally, some favor third person but are okay with first and those that dislike first person seem to really hate it.   I was really surprised by this, I’d never heard that people disliked that point of view.   Well, actually I remember a gal that I worked with griped about the Stephanie Plum books and the first person POV.  Of course, she griped about everything so I didn’t really take her seriously at the time.

I’ve written my stories in first person for as long as I can remember.   At first, I think it was easier to write because I could put a bit of myself into the character.   When I read books I enjoy that connection with the main character, there’s a certain level of honesty or intimacy that you feel privy too.  That being said, I can’t really ever say that I have disliked reading a book in third person.  I’ve actually stopped reading a book or two that were in first person.  I definitely stopped reading one that had first person point of view but for different characters.  It was a gritty, paranormal sort of story and one point of view was seen through the eyes of an evil entity and it creeped me out.  Every time the point of view shifted  to the shadowy bad guy I’d put the book down and eventually I never went back to it.

I did some research today on advantages and disadvantages of different points of view.  I am seriously thinking about revising my current work in progress from first person to third person.  I’d been having issues with the inner voice parts, as opposed to my dialogue, of which I have too much.  This WIP was written during NaNo so I knew at the time that a lot of the dialogue would get slashed during revisions.  

I think part of my problem with this story is that the main character is doing things I’d never do.  Writing from third person may make it easier for me to connect with the characters.  Also, writing from a male point of view would be new to me and possibly increase my investment in these characters.  I’d love to revive the story and get it properly revised.

Here are a few of the articles and blog posts that I read today, in no particular order.

WHAT POINT OF VIEW SHOULD YOU USE IN YOUR NOVEL? 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in first person?

Writing in First Person

First or Third Person: Which Point of View Is Best? 

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2 thoughts on “Point of view…

  1. As long as the story is good, I like both first person and third person limited (where each scene is from one character’s POV, but that person is not narrating the story). I’m not as crazy about third person omniscient (the narrator knows what’s going on in everyone’s head), but will read it as long as there’s a good story there. Good story is really the key for me. I used to immediately put a book back on the shelf if it was written in present tense. Drove me NUTS! But then I picked up Lani Diane Rich’s The Fortune Quilt and was so sucked into the wonderful story that I forgot it was in present tense after the first page or two.

    I usually write in third limited. I’ve heard Jenny Crusie say she doesn’t write in first person because she can’t stand to listen to her own voice that long, or something like that. I think, for me, I feel like I can see the whole story better from third than I can from first. Or something. I don’t know.

    On the other hand, for NaNo a couple of years ago, I started a story in third and switched to first person somewhere in the first paragraph without realizing it. It just felt right. So, I’m not sure we always get to choose the POV – sometimes the story or a character makes that decision for us.

  2. Quirky Girl, I think you’re right. The story or characters do tend to direct us in other ways, why not point of view too? I think I need to be better about listening and going along with it instead of fighting it. Thanks for the input. 🙂

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