Friday, June 4, 2010

Point of View Preferences

I never really spend time considering the point of view of my manuscripts.  I just write whatever feels "right" as I begin my story.  That means that my first manuscript is in first person, while my current WIP is in third person.

Now, I'm wondering if I should be less arbitrary with my point of view decision.  Fifty pages into my current WIP, I'm considering a change to first person, like my first novel.  I just don't think third person is working well, especially since a major conflict of my story is my main character's mental illness.  In a first person point of view, I think I'll be able to better capture her inner turmoil.

Before I take the time to transform my entire WIP into first person, I'd like a second opinion from my wonderful blogging community.  What do you think?

Do you have any POV preferences?  How do you choose what POV to use?  Are there any POV's that you dislike as a reader?  As a writer?

18 comments:

Palindrome said...

I just go with what feels right as well. I was thinking of changing my current Ms. to first person as wel so I tried it for the next scene and it did not work. It might be different for you. I say rather than rewriting anything, try first for your next scene and if it works just finish your wip that way and then go back and change the beginning.

For reading it doesn't matter to me either although reading first person present tense is a bit challenging because I always want to know what everyone else is thinking. And individuals usually are redundant in their thoughts so it makes it hard to keep the story engaging in first.

My next wip is going to be first and most of my short pieces are in first.

I'm rambling.

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I almost always write in first person, as it's just what seems most natural to me. As a reader, I tend to prefer first person as well, but it really doesn't make too much of a difference either way.

As for your predicament, I would just go with what feels right. You're not so far into it that it would be a horrible chore, sure, it would take some time, but it's not like you're 200 pages in.

Aubrie said...

I'm much better at writing third person POV's, but I went with my gut on the current WIP and I'm writing in first person for this one. Go with your heart and what will tell your story in the best way. Good luck!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I write them all as well as use different tenses to get the tone of the piece I'm looking for. Sometimes that means going back and changing from one POV to another. It's usually a royal pain to do so, but I've really never been unhappy with the results because when you think you should change POV, you probably should.

Marcia said...

I enjoy reading them all. As for choosing first or third, I ask myself whether the MC is the type who would tell her own story, and whether the MC's voice would be one I could sustain 100% of the time.

Chris Campbell said...

I started my first manuscript in first, changed to third roughly 20,000 into it, wrote a few thousand more words, and promptly switched it back to first. In my new WIP, I started in third, toyed with switching it to first, but ultimately decided to stick it out. There are obviously limitations to each--how close do you want your readers to get to your main character? Would it help to tell your story without the main character always present?

Cynthia Reese said...

My natural inclincation is always first POV, but writing romance I write in third -- but very deep.

I think certain stories have to be told in first person. I started out a women's fiction story that I'm working on in third, but realized that I needed to change it back to first. Amazing the difference it made.

link2literacy said...

I am contemplating writing a piece in 1st person, but it will NOT be the MC's pov. It will be someone close to 2 characters, including the main character. I can already imagine all kinds of limitations, and so I'll play with it for just a few pages or a few hundred words to see just how limiting it is!

Sandy Shin said...

I know exactly how you're feeling, although for me, it's more about the tense.

I have a special preference for third person present tense, which everybody assures me sounds awkward. So now I'm writing it in third person past, but constantly wanting to change to present.

I think, in the end, you should choose whichever is better for the story. Now that you have written some chapters in third, re-write them in first. See if that's better. :)

Andria said...

I agree with Sandy; try and write a few chapters in first person and see how that feels for you. If you like it, it will be easier to change now than it would another 150 pages down the writing road.

As for me, you know how much I love my limited omniscient (sp?) narrator...except when I'm writing horror stories that take place at the school, which is when I write in 1st person. Different genres, you know...

MT said...

I tried omniscient on my first novel and found out it's very hard to do well. On my second, I'm working with first person and love it. As a reader, I feel very connected to a first person MC, plus I'm thinking it's good for mystery, suspense, etc because the info is limited and ups the tension. :)

Vicki Rocho said...

I had the same dilemma (only I was 40K in). I originally chose 3rd person because I was going to hop from MC to her husband in order to accidentally-on-purpose incriminate him.

But it was FLAT and BOOOOOORING.

I started over in 1st person and it started to come to life. I also figured out a way to incriminate the husband without being in his head. It's working for me, and I suspect it will work for you, but you won't know for sure until you try.

Catherine A. Winn said...

The book I'm subbing now was completely finished and polished in third person but it just felt wrong. So to experiment I rewrote the first chapter in first person. The character came to life! It took a long time but I changed the whole thing to first person and it is so much better. It's the only first person novel I've done. Try a chapter and see how it goes. Good luck!

Shelley Sly said...

I am not good at choosing POV, so this comment isn't going to be helpful. :)

I wrote my first novel in 3rd person, and then wrote my second novel in 1st person. I decided I enjoyed writing in 1st so much that I rewrote Book #1 in 1st. I sent it to beta readers, and they suggested I change it back to 3rd! But for now, I'm writing a new book in 3rd person... just working on a hunch that 3rd would be better for this story. But I never know. :)

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I think you just have to experiment. I switched from first person to third about 25 pages in because it just wasn't working. I wrote a few pages in 3rd and it just felt so much better.

Jojomama said...

I like both. First person can get tricky just hearing one character saying " I, I, I" all the time.
In third you can show with dialogue and action what many characters are thinking and feeling and also you can choose a character to follow, narrating their thoughts. Versatile. Depends on the feel of the story etc.

Meghan Ward said...

I can't imagine writing in third person. I think because my first book (which I'm still revising) is a memoir and writing in first person is what I know, I'll always write in first person - even for fiction. Second person novels do exist, but they're rare and sometimes awkward. I say if first person feels right, convert a chapter or two and see how it feels. I changed my entire book from past tense to present tense, and it worked much better.

kendrajkphotography said...

I think POV is something that is heavily dependent on the story you're writing. I used to only write in 3rd person, but it never held my stories back.

The current story I'm writing, started out as 1st person (with some pieces from other characters in 3rd person) and now I'm well over 30k words into the story and thinking I need to make the whole thing 3rd person!

I think you just need to experiment a bit with the story you're writing to decide what works best. Good luck! POV is hard thing to decide for a story I think :)