Friday, February 3, 2012

POV Preference: 1st or 3rd?

Photo by Phineas H.
I'm currently having a bit of a dilemma. I started writing a book in the the first person, which is what I've done for my other four books, but this story...this new series...maybe I need to try something different.

I used to write in 3rd person when I wrote action thrillers, but when I wrote my romantic suspense series, the intimate POV of the first person just seemed to fit. I wrote the hero's point of view in 3rd person, but that's it.

As a reader, I don't get tripped up by things like this. If I open a book and get completely hooked withing the first few pages, it doesn't matter to me in what POV the story is told.

As a writer, do you stick with only one POV? One of my favorite authors wrote in third person only to switch, mid series, into first person, and then back again. It totally made sense.

I guess my question is if there is a definite preference. Do readers have a favorite POV? Does it matter if you are not a writer and just looking for a great story?

I'd love you hear your take; author or reader -- sound off.

Also, I am hosting my first Clash of the Titles challenge on Monday! It is the Almost Kiss Clash and I can't wait to share the two great excerpts with you...don't forget to vote for a chance to win the drawing!


mooderino said...

I think it doesn't really matter as long as the story's interesting. The only thing to watchout for is not to make it confusing, but I've read books that have used more than one pov (usually first for the hero and third for everyine else). Most readers aren't all that fussy if they're into it.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Sari Webb said...

As a writer, I tend to write in first, but I'd like to give third a go.

I think first works really well if your characters are just as in the dark as the reader is. This way the reader finds out about plot twists as the character does.

It can be very hard to hide important info from the reader if a book is written in first and the POV character knows that information. If you've read Across the Universe you'll know there's a plot twist at the very end which one of the POV characters knew about all along. I found that really irritating because I just didn't believe that the character would never think about it. It was too big!

Good luck figuring out which POV is right for your story.

David P. King said...

I have the opposite dilemma. I prefer writing 3rd, but I have a story that would work better in 1st. I find most 1st person tough to read since there's so much focus on "I" this and "I" that. Makes for a lot of introverted and shallow MCs. With 3rd, you get a more objective view and you can decide for yourself what something is thinking or feeling based on external observation.

Depends on your audience. I've found writing flash fiction in the style of the novel I want to write helpful. :)

Elliot Grace said... "South of Charm," I wrote in 1st person throughout the main character's scenes, and 3rd person during those estranged passages meant to promote goose bumps.

I believe it to be a decision from the heart, and agree, can be quite difficult at times.

That's a tough one...but you'll figure it out ;)


Dora Hiers said...

As a romance reader, I prefer 3rd mostly because I enjoy perspectives from both the hero and heroine. 1st person usually jars me a bit in the beginning.

I'm with El. You crafted a fabulous book with PURPLE KNOT in 1st person, and I know you'll figure out what works best in your current work of art. Go for it!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Mooderino - I agree, if you're into it ... then probably would matter as a reader.

Sari - You brought up a good point with the "knowing" I think that is why 1st worked so well for the suspense. Hmmmm....this is helping! :)

David - Your flash fiction suggestions is so great! I shall totally try that.

Elliot - I think you're right. I need to go with what feels right.

Dora - Always with a word of encouragement. Thank you so much! :)

Donna Hole said...

I'm more of a 3rd person writer and reader. I'm with David on the "shallow" concept for 1st. And the movements are usually mechanical (I walked over to him and he stood up and then I kissed him . .)

If the story is written really well, I don't mind 1st person. I won't put a book down for that reason alone.

But 3rd is what I mostly write in. It can be as intimate as 1st, with more leeway for narrative setting and character descriptions. Especially for the MC (in first person, she can't see her blood red eyes but in third they can be described as such).

And of course you can still have multiple POV's in 3rd. As everyone else has mentioned, the author just needs to "like" how the story sounds to discover what POV to write in.

Unless you plan on killing off the POV character, then I say an emphatic NONONONONO for 1st :)


Joe Duncko said...

I enjoy writing in whatever point of view would fit the story the best. I've written in first, third, and even second!

Shakespeare said...

I write in both, but my pref is probably first.

I have rewritten a novel THREE times, first to change the protagonist, then to change it from third to first, and finally to put it all in present tense. And OH the difference these changes made. Now the story is actually worth reading.

At least, I think it is...

Ryan Hunter - Writer said...

I think it depends on the story. I've written in first person and third. I find the first works best when I really want to get deep into one character's head. It seems more personal to me as the writer. I feel like I can portray a bit more in my stories that are more emotional.

My latest novel, inDIVISIBLE, is in first person. I wanted to let some facts of the story slowly unfold, only showing what the main character knew as she learned it.