Monday, April 26, 2010

Lesson In POV

Point of View is something writers need to be aware of. I've heard the "rules" but the more I read the more I realize we can write however we want if it's done well. By well, I mean everything from clear to engaging.

Here's some types of POV.

Omniscient: Like God. The writer tells the reader things the character couldn't possibly know, so it's an all-knowing type of point of view.

Third person: Using the pronouns "she" or "he". Sensory details, thoughts, etc. are experienced through one character's pov at a time.

Second person: Using the pronoun "you". I don't see this very often.

First person: Using "I".

Those are all extremely simple examples from me. For better details, check out this article at Fiction Factor.

What POV do you write in? Which are you most comfortable using? What genre is your favorite to read, and what POV is the norm for that genre?

32 comments:

Katie S said...

great post. Always good to be reminded of the differences. I've never attempted 2nd though. A bit tricky that one.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've used third and first, but I have to say first is my favorite to write and read in.
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

Katie, me neither. I think if someone could pull a second one off though, it could be pretty amazing.

Wendy, that's cool. First can be tricky too, I think.

Sarah Forgrave said...

3rd person. I've enjoyed reading a few 1st person books, but I like 3rd person better...not sure why. :-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

I love first person for my novels, but tend to write in third person limited for my short stories - don't know why that is, it just is the way I do it. I like the intimacy of first person.

Terri Tiffany said...

Third person. But I would love to write in first but afraid I wouldn't be able to show enough of the story that way.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I write in first mostly, then switch to second at the end, to try and relate my messages to the reader. This is fairly common with devotional writings.

The novels I like best are written in first person--that makes them seem more exciting somehow. You go throught the story in the writer's skin, so to speak.

I've heard omniscient is very hard to pull off.

Great, informative post! Thanks!

Katie Ganshert said...

I use first and third. Mainly third. But I've been told I have a strong, natural voice in first, so maybe I ought to write a whole novel that way!

Jody Hedlund said...

I always use third person, but have been trying to write in a deeper third POV, so that it feels truly in character.

Danyelle said...

I write in close third, usually with multiple POVs. But it all depends on the story. Since I write for MG and YA, I can get away with more than one POV. ;-)

Erica Vetsch said...

I write in 3rd person, and am trying every way I know how to deepen that third person POV.

I read historicals and mysteries. The historicals are almost always 3rd person and the mysteries are almost always 1st person. :)

Cindy said...

I almost always try to write in third person. I've attempted first person before but I can never seem to really convey the depth in my characters as I do with other way.

Julie Jarnagin said...

I write in 3rd and prefer to read 3rd. One of these days, I need to break out of my comfort zone and write in 1st.

Dara said...

I write in 3rd. I've tried writing in 1st, but it always comes across as stilted.

Most of the historical fiction I read is in 3rd, however I read a lot of YA and the trend in that genre is writing in 1st.

Patti said...

Right now I'm writing in third person. My WIP is told from the POV of two characters. I do like reading in the 1st and want to try that next.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jessica, great post. I like to write in third person but only because I haven't tried first person yet. lol. cheers~

Linda Kage said...

I usually write in limited third person, but it's really fun to jot down a first person POV story sometimes.

T. Anne said...

I'm a first person kind of gal and it's not easy. I would like to tackle second person one day because i LOVE a challenge.

Karen Lange said...

My favorite genre is historical fiction, and I probably prefer third person for this. I write in first and third. Thanks for the link.
Blessings,
Karen

Angie Muresan said...

First person is my favorite to read and write in. But not all genres go well in first person. I can't imagine liking it in Romance fiction, for example.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I'm most comfortable with third person. Someday, I'd like to try first person.

Mystery/Suspense used to be my favorite, but Historical Romance is catching up fast. Most of what I read is third person. I'm currently reading Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

Hi ladies, thanks for sharing! I love reading each comment and hearing more about what you like. More of you like first person than I would've guessed. Interesting.
:-)

Jennifer Shirk said...

I normally use third but tried first. I like to read both, but I think I'm more comfortable with 3rd only because I've been doing it the longest.

Keli Gwyn said...

I write in third person. In a romance, I like seeing both the main characters POVs.

Tabitha Bird said...

I write memoir, so first person present is almost dictated. But the POV I think is the most interesting and the hardest to get right is second person present. REALLY HARD. I read a great book that was written that way and it was so powerful . Really confronting.

patti said...

I write third person in women's fiction but hope to try a first person soon.

To me omniscient is VERY difficult; I rarely connect with this POV. A notable exception was The Book Thief. Brilliant!!

Pen Pen said...

I like writing in 1st person the best, but I think it's harder to develop the characters whose thoughts we can't hear.
You get this tremendous bond with ur main character, but then you don't care too much about the other characters.
There's a movie example that shows it for me-In 'Titanic', you hear the main woman's thoughts- and ur really touched by ur bond with her...but then they kill the main guy-whose head we can't get into and expect you to be be super sad and upset, but ur like, "I feel bad for her, but I didn't REALLY know him-so his death isn't as impactful as the writers wanted it to be.
...but that's just my opinion. :)

OHH! Jess! I dunno if u got my comment on ur kiddos and cupcakes- I don't remember if I messaged u with it, or it was a long comment, but I'm doing some some samples of birthday cupcakes for kids, and I'm looking for a different theme to go on each cupcake. I wanted to extend the offer to ur kiddos to have a cupcake each that's tailored to their personality, favorite things, hobbies, fav colors/flavors. I can't send it to them since cupcakes don't survive the journey so far, but they'd have the pics I could send you, and the pics would be on my bakery blog named after them.
Let me know if they might want to do that-and if u are alright with it!
:)

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh my gosh! Penny, LOL! I'll e-mail you. They'd probably love it! At least the older two...

Thanks for chiming in ladies, about POVs. It's a tool in our box, for sure.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

As you know, I write in 1st. It's my fav POV to read in too. I might try third sometime just to see how it feels.

Nancy said...

I think I usually write in the third person omniscient. I love naration and with fist person, it's harder or not appropriate. I do have difficulty and have to watch myself. I know many children's books are first person, but many are third person, too.

Deb Shucka said...

As a memoirist, I write mostly in first person present. Once in a while I'll try third and enjoy the different results, but it's first person that gets me closest to my own story.

Another great and interesting post.

Rita Gerlach said...

Third person. This way I am able to flesh out my main characters for my readers. First person I haven't tried. I think it would stifle a story since it would be from only one person's point of view.