What’s YOUR Point of View?

So I’m having a little argument with myself over some structural things in my newest WiP. The main issue – Point of View. You know, 3rd person vs first person?. Single POV vs. Multiple POVs? Mixed 1st and third? Past tense vs present tense?

Before I tell you my thoughts on this tomorrow – I wanted to ask all of you…

Do YOU have a preference??? Is there one particular style you prefer. Why?

Lay it on me…I really want to know…

OH! And I was TAGGED on Christine Bryant’s blog by none other than Elana Johnson. Go check out who I’ve tagged….mwahahahaha!

15 thoughts on “What’s YOUR Point of View?

  1. I’ve tried using multiple POV, but I don’t think I’m skilled enough as a writer yet to do it. It made my story too complicated. I’ve written one novel using first person, another using third. I think it just depends on the story and how you want to tell it.

  2. Nisa

    I prefer writing in third and I love it because it makes multiple POVs easier to do. I love being able to get into several characters because while the MC is interesting, there’s always others I want to know better. Multiple 1st person can be confusing, but it’s awesome when an author can pull it off. As far as past and present go, I have a very hard time reading present tense. I just can’t stay in it at all.

  3. Nisa

    I should have clarified that while the first line was on writing, the rest was focused on reading. Sorry for the double comments! :S

  4. I love playing around with POV. I have a book in 1st present and one in 1st past as well as a couple in 3rd person. My funnest is 1st present though.

    And, thanks for hanging out on my blog today, Christine. Getting even with Elana should be SWEET!

  5. I vastly prefer 1st. I have a really hard time getting into 3rd person no matter how limited. I only write in 1st because that’s what I prefer to read.

    The tense doesn’t matter.

  6. When I first started writing I did all 3rd person POV, but as the market has changed to more 1st person viewpoints I’ve changed with it. All my current books and upcoming books are in 1st person – although both The Healing Spell and my 2012 YA, Secret Rites of the Goddess STARTED in 3rd and then later were rewritten to 1st. It made such a difference in deepening the character which is what I really needed help with.

    Then I had a big surprise last summer when I was writing Circle of Secrets (October, 2011)- I wrote the first couple of chapters before I realized that I was writing 1st person present! I’d never done that before, but the story just naturally flowed in present tense. And now my new WIP is coming out the same way – First Person Present! Odd, but very fun, too! I personally love first person for my novels now, to read and to write. (Although my Egyptian novel is told from a boy’s POV in 3rd so there are exceptions to every rule and every writer!)🙂

  7. When I am reading a novel I prefer past tense. Present tense to me, is for story pitches like for a screenplay or a TV script, etc. –just the pitch, mind you, not the actual material. I remember us talking about this when Temecula Valley Writer Group was more active –a lot of YA books are present tense and it has to do with building suspense because you can’t know whether the character is going to die or not since it is all happening as you read it. If the story is told in first person, I can see this, though I feel like there can still be plenty of suspense even when told in first person past tense –the reader may know that the narrator isn’t going to die (unless they are speaking from the great beyond…) but there are plenty of other characters who could die. (yay!)

    However, if a story is being told third person, past tense, ANYONE can die! The main character, ANYONE! So I am still unsure why it is so popular for YA novels to be in first person present tense.
    ***SPOILER ALERT***
    In Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible,” the story is told in first person by several different characters. ***SPOILER ALERT*** one of these characters dies, so this character is simply not a narrator anymore, and the others go on with the rest of the story.

    I have no preference between first person or third person when I am reading a novel. It depends on which fits better with the story and I really have no rules about that. I don’t recall reading something and thinking, “This would have been better in third person…this would have been better in first person.” I have heard there is some “literary rule” that says that it is better to write a story in third person unless you are a very experienced writer. I’m not sure why that is (maybe if I was a more experienced writer, I would know…), but I try to follow it anyway: Perhaps because of my lack of college education, and my lack of ever getting paid for writing anything, I tend to cast aspersions on my own writing experience. Oddly enough, some of my favorite novels have either been in first person: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and the above mentioned “Poisonwood Bible,” Or they have been in letter format: Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything is Illuminated” and Stephan Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which has the feel of first person because the people in the letters ARE speaking in first person.

    How do I decide whether to tell a story in first or third person? If it is my OWN story about something that happened to ME, first person (I guess that’s kind of obvious) –unless I want to fictionalize it, then third person. If I started to write a novel or short story in third person and it seemed like telling it from one or more character’s first person P.O.V. then I will go back and re-write/write it that way.

    I like to tell a story in third person from the P.O.V. of many different characters. I either dedicate an entire chapter to a new P.O.V. or I will make a page break if the P.O.V. changes in the middle of a chapter. Either way, I want it to be clear –unlike Jonathan Franzen’s “The Twenty-Seventh City,” where he has character P.O.V. and location changes right in the middle of a paragraph with little to no segues! I swear, if I had been reading the paperback version and not from my Nook, I would have thrown that book across the room several times! Fortunately, (for him and for us) Franzen’s style has improved over the years.

  8. Your tag was awesome Christine. You did great!

    And, I think I generally prefer 1st person past, but I like to write in present too ~ only there aren’t too many stories I think REALLY call for present. I think it’s popular right now, but really, only extremely urgent stories, IMMEDIATE stories call for present, just my opinion of course! And I totally don’t mind multiple POV’s as long as there’s a good reason and excellent character building ~ and the story doesn’t suffer for being divided up like that.

  9. I’ve recently switched mine from third to first. It really helped me to nail down the voice–I also tried to shift from past to present with disastrous results. Suddenly it seemed that my MC could see into the future.

    I just finished reading THE HOURS which was written in third person present (something they say to NEVER do)–and it worked beautifully.

    sf

    1. 3rd person PRESENT?? That sounds intriguing and difficult to pull off! THE HOURS – isn’t that an adult book? Can’t remember the author. I’ll have to check it out and see how it was accomplished so well. But I’ve never heard of present tense used with 3rd person. Then again, maybe I’m not paying close enough attention. Often, if the book is superbly and smoothly written I don’t even notice the tense if I’m gulping it down fast – until I stop and actually LOOK. 🙂

  10. I am a first person writer, all the way. I love writing in first person, because it feels natural and easy. I’ve written books that have multiple POV’s, all in first person.

    I like writing in both past and present, so I do both. One of my novels has sections written in each. One of my books is uniquely one. One of my books mixes both past and present, sometimes in the same sentence. I’m a tense mess, but I always have a reason for choosing which sentences/sections go in which tense.

    I like writing from 1 or 2 POV’s. Much more than that, and as a reader I’m not sure who to care about. I like the structure of every other chapter, or every 2 chapters, or something that I get to switch back and forth. It makes me feel like I’m in the hands of someone who knows how to craft a story. Not someone who’s just jumping around because they can, or they don’t know how to make the story work otherwise. You know?

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