Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Point of View

Lin started the blog chain this week on choosing points of view.

I don't think about point of view.  It just...happens.  ATRS is in first person, because that's how I started writing it.  In the back of my mind, I may have vaguely thought since the story was a bizarre one and mostly happens to one character, it would be better to have it told from that character's point of view.  But mostly, I put words onto a page, and they ended up being in first person.

My second novel is in third person limited.  This seems to be a popular style these days.  At least--I see it everywhere.  I mainly picked it because I had recently finished the first draft of ATRS, and I was tired of writing in first person.  It's that simple.  When I'm writing in a particular point of view, the short stories I do during that time are generally in another point of view.  Just to keep things interesting for myself.  I'm selfish like that.

Confession: I can't do third person omniscient.  I confuse myself.  It sounds forced.  I've read wonderful things in this point of view, but I can't pull it off to save my life.

Second person is dumb.  This is my conclusion.  I have seen maybe three books in my life that have this point of view, and I've never read past the second page.  It's too distracting.  I won't say I'll never read something good in second person, but the author will either be a blowout bestseller or threatening my death.  Someone will have to hogtie me to a chair, flip pages, and peel my eyelids back with duct tape for me to finish it.

I've only written multiple narrators for fanfiction and only short stories in that category.  I love it when authors can do this effectively, but I myself prefer to stick with one person.

I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but POV is something I don't give a lot of thought to.  When stories come to me, they come via one character, and it becomes natural to pick that character to tell the story.  

I don't think I'll be attempting a first person for a while after ATRS is done.  I constantly have to worry about not starting too many sentences with I, and after awhile, it gets nauseating to look at (only my own work ^-^).

Maybe other people will offer better insight.  Also, I'm incredibly sleepy.

Wednesday: Me

PS I hope Lisa and Laura feel really good about themselves for introducing me to Statcounter.  It is a soul-sucking useful tool for seeing how many hits your site gets every day.  It also lets you see what region of the country everyone is from which is good for stalking...research.


  1. I think about POV a lot, actually. For my first book, it was first person. Then third with two narrators. Then a mix of first and third. Then back to first. I never got it right. It went back into the closet quietly.

    My other novels have had the most success with first person. I absolutely adore writing and reading in first person. I actually have to force myself to write in another POV and it usually isn't very good. I'm working on it.

  2. Wait ... there's a second person writing style? I never stopped to think about it, but i guess it wouldn't make sense to have a first person and a third person without a second. *pauses to google it*

    Oh ... that sounds very, well, weird. I think I'll stick to my first.

    I used to write in third, but I always felt too distant. Not to mention I did a heck of a lot of telling rather than showing. But that's just me. And Elana, apparently :)

  3. I agree with you that point of view pretty much just sort of happens. When I try to focus on writing in a certain point of view, it sounds forced and just overall lame. I had a piece once that was written in first person and I liked it a lot, but there was stuff I wanted to get in that I couldn't seem to do through first person, so I painstakingly switched it to third person omniscient. What a waste of time ... switched it all back over after I read through it and was so disenchanted ...

  4. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into writing anything creative in the first person. I think I've written maybe two or three pieces in first person. There's just something I don't like about it. For some reason, I feel like I can get into my character's head better from third person limited...which is weird, considering first person is the ultimate "get in your head" narrative.

    If I switch POVs in a story, I usually try to do it on a chapter-by-chapter basis to avoid confusion. I don't like it when there's more than one POV change in each chapter, unless it's very small.

  5. Ha ha! Welcome to our hell!

    And as for POV, we're pretty committed to first person. Tenses we don't mind messing with and even POVs, but I think our voice and style lends itself to first person.

  6. I always thought first person came easier to me, but I've recently learned that there's more to it than just using I instead of she. First person was always the easiest for me to get into as a teen, which is why I usually start writing everything in first. Sometimes third is the only way to tell a story, though.

    Lately I've been writing in first person present, which I thought I would hate but I love.

  7. Hmmm, it seems like everyone is committed to first. Which is interesting, because most of the books I see are in third. Maybe I need to read more?

    greenconverses- Third person limited is the shiz. My favorite.

    TereLiz- I adore present tense. I have only read a few novels where I found it distracting. Usually, people are published in present tense know how to do it well. Libba Bray's "A Great and Terrible Beauty" series is in first person present. She's very good at it.