Author Topic: New POV on an old topic  (Read 1049 times)  

Offline Frank the author

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
New POV on an old topic
« on: July 03, 2020, 07:10:06 am »
I know this has been asked a zillion times here
"Whats best? First person or third?"
But I am curious about a different POV on the matter

YOU. 
 When YOU go to purchase a book....( not write one- buy it to read)
Does the fact its in first person or third give you pause?
Does your personal preference for one or the other lessen the reading comfort level of the story for you?

Again I'm curious because I myself am thinking of writing a space epic and I figured that having each character ( alternating chapters)
telling their story within the bigger story arc would make the experience more personal for the reader

And then I thought what if I just stick to the traditional third person format and not waste my time?
So I'm hung up on that while I work on the outline and thought I'd solicit some thoughts from you kind folks
Thanks to all who might wish to comment

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline EmberKent

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 414
    • Gender: Male
    • Pacific Northwest
      • View Profile
      • Ember Editing
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #1 on: July 03, 2020, 07:35:40 am »
    I couldn't care less. First or third, I'm indifferent. It plays no part in my enjoyment. Quality of writing and narrative structure are supreme for me.

    The only POV I distinctly have an opinion on is second person. I can't stand it.

    About your brainstorming... Doing it in first person is possible, but difficult. One common issue with head-hopping in first person is that everyone sounds the same despite the psychic distance being close. It is challenging to make each character clearly distinct when you're meant to be narrating their closest thoughts and feelings from behind their eyes instead of as an observer. A third-person perspective makes it easier to clearly separate each personality. But easier doesn't necessarily mean best; if your story is best told with a close, personal perspective with each character, then that's the story you should tell.

    Offline NikOK

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 86
    • Gender: Male
    • VA
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #2 on: July 03, 2020, 08:20:48 am »
    Personally, I like both first and third person, but I like them for different things.  First always feels more informal and I feel like it generally has a better flow for me because it can read just like a conversation.  But, I really like writing dialog in general so first person kind of blends the line of dialog and narrative.

    Third person can feel a little more dry to me but it is also a lot easier to get information across.  I like it better when I want to make things distinctly clear and to be able to set up a larger story.  So, it kind of depends on the set up to me.  If it's a fun story that is character driven, then I like first.  If it is more important to get the plot across, I like third.

    Oh, and one other thing I find fun about first person is that I find more natural plot twists.  In third person I always feel like I have to plan twists because you have to tell the reader something or not tell them something else, but in first person it can come up more organically.  Like, if my protagonist just doesn't know something, then it might come into play later, or if they get something wrong, it might become a big part of what is happening.  I mean, it's not a big deal, but it is one of the fun things I have come across after a few first person books.

    And the same goes for reading books.  Whatever way the author works it, if the POV fits the story, then I like it.  I have seen alternating first person done well in books by Glen Cook, particularly the Black Company series, and I really enjoyed them.

    Offline Frank the author

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 45
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #3 on: July 03, 2020, 08:41:20 am »
    I have seen alternating first person done well in books by Glen Cook, particularly the Black Company series, and I really enjoyed them.

    Thanks I'll check them out

    Online jm2019

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 265
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #4 on: July 03, 2020, 08:43:30 am »
    As long as the POV is appropriate for the story and conveys the necessary atmosphere, I absolutely do not care.

    I too wrestled with this a lot when I wrote my first novel. In the end,  I went with what I thought worked for the book - which is a mix of both first person and third person. And both present and past. And now, 4 novels later, I have had exactly 0 people complaining about my POVs, and the books are doing just fine.

    Offline Frank the author

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 45
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #5 on: July 03, 2020, 08:43:53 am »
    I couldn't care less. First or third, I'm indifferent. It plays no part in my enjoyment. Quality of writing and narrative structure are supreme for me.

    The only POV I distinctly have an opinion on is second person. I can't stand it.

    About your brainstorming... Doing it in first person is possible, but difficult. One common issue with head-hopping in first person is that everyone sounds the same despite the psychic distance being close. It is challenging to make each character clearly distinct when you're meant to be narrating their closest thoughts and feelings from behind their eyes instead of as an observer. A third-person perspective makes it easier to clearly separate each personality. But easier doesn't necessarily mean best; if your story is best told with a close, personal perspective with each character, then that's the story you should tell.

    Thanks   good points    I am kinda leaning toward third person anyway    I was thinking of using first person as a challenge TO ME since I do enjoy a first person read...but THATS ME.   I want the books to be comfortable to as wide a readership as possible

    Offline Frank the author

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 45
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #6 on: July 03, 2020, 08:46:03 am »
    First always feels more informal and I feel like it generally has a better flow for me because it can read just like a conversation.  But, I really like writing dialog in general so first person kind of blends the line of dialog and narrative.

    As I recall the Alex Cross series uses first person too and yet that might not work using the handful of characters I have in mind for my own book. Arrgghh  Tough decisions  LOL

    Offline CassieL

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2396
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #7 on: July 03, 2020, 08:56:20 am »
    I'll read either first or third no problem, but the author has to do it well if they're doing multiple points of view so that I know whose chapter I'm reading at any given time. I recently read a well-reviewed book that used about seven different first-person POVs and it was awful because the author did nothing in the first paragraph of each section or chapter with a new POV to anchor the reader and let them know who "I" was now. So I kept getting thrown out of the story each time they switched. At least with third person you generally are using someone's name as opposed to "I". And you can get the same level of emotional depth in third that you can with first. So I generally as a writer choose which one to use based on other books in the genre and what seems to be the common POV style for that genre.

    8 Pen Names. Genres: Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Romance.

    Online Usedtoposthere

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 6230
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #8 on: July 03, 2020, 09:55:37 am »
    I write in both and read in both. With multiple points of view, you want to be careful to make it clear in the first sentence who is speaking. With first person, I have found it best to label the scene or chapter with the name. I write two alternating points of view in first person. With more than two, I have always done third person. (Up to 13 separate points of view in a book.)

    You can get almost as close with deep third person, but not quite. It is easier to make a characters voice shine in first person in my experience, if you are good at characterization. I love writing both and I find that most of my readers do not care, except for a few who will tell me that they despise first person. These are mostly quite opinionated people who will also express deeply held preferences on other book matters, so I let those chips fall where they may and do what feels right for the book.

    Lee Child writes in both depending on whether the story needs more than Reachers point of view. Seems sensible.

    Offline NikOK

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 86
    • Gender: Male
    • VA
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #9 on: July 03, 2020, 10:56:18 am »
    I'll read either first or third no problem, but the author has to do it well if they're doing multiple points of view so that I know whose chapter I'm reading at any given time. I recently read a well-reviewed book that used about seven different first-person POVs and it was awful because the author did nothing in the first paragraph of each section or chapter with a new POV to anchor the reader and let them know who "I" was now. So I kept getting thrown out of the story each time they switched. At least with third person you generally are using someone's name as opposed to "I". And you can get the same level of emotional depth in third that you can with first. So I generally as a writer choose which one to use based on other books in the genre and what seems to be the common POV style for that genre.

    I remember being worried about this with a book I did that had a jumping first person perspective.  What I ended up doing was using a different picture in the chapter heading for each character.  For the first few chapters of each character I made sure to make it clear who is who right away, but after that I kind of left it to the reader to associate the picture with the character.  Don't know if that's the best way to go, but it's a trick.  Also, adds a little style to the start of each chapter.

    Offline Crystal_

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2999
    • Gender: Female
    • Portland, OR
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #10 on: July 03, 2020, 12:40:04 pm »
    Absolutely. I generally avoid books in third person. And I'll always pick a book in first present over a book in first past.

    I will read books in third person, but only if something about them really intrigues me. I generally feel too far from the characters. But it's also easier to slip into the story, because my editor brain doesn't kick in as easily. But, thus far, that has not really pushed me to buy.

    TBH, I tend to read trad books (sorry to my fellow indies), because they generally have a higher level of editing. Too many indie books are filled with minor errors. This bothers me more in first person, for whatever reason, but I rarely read books that are not in first person, so it's probably a numbers game.

    Online alhawke

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 349
      • View Profile
      • A.L. Hawke website
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #11 on: July 03, 2020, 01:54:14 pm »
    I've seen some say in past posts that they only read 3rd person books. Some feel like 3rd person is more "professional". Personally, I don't differentiate. I love Catcher in the Rye and I love Dune--1st and 3rd person books. It's the book not the POV that's important to me.

    My thoughts: it's easier to write multiple head POVs in 3rd person, but 1st person is more close and personal. I've published in both.

    Marketing-wise, another factor is genre. Some POV's are more popular in certain genres (like cover styles). But, you really can do whatever you want as long as the reader can easily follow your writing.


    A.L. Hawke | Author website | Goodreads | BookBub

    Offline unkownwriter

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 7396
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #12 on: July 05, 2020, 07:15:34 am »
    I prefer third person, but will read first if it's done well. The character has to be interesting enough for me to be in his/her head all the time. That's not easy to do. If there will be multiple first person POV, I tend to avoid it, because again, not easy to make each character unique.

    I will not read present tense in anything. Not even for Stephen King.

    Offline Decon

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5056
      • View Profile
      • Declan Conner, Blog
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #13 on: July 05, 2020, 07:25:56 am »
    I'm writing an epic story set in the near future, though not sci-fi. I use 1st person past for the MC of the trilogy in the majority of chapters. It allows me to keep a close prospective of events through his eyes as a POV. Other chapters of characters where he doesn't witness the events, I use 3rd person, past tense. I even have chapters with journal entries in 1st person present, but only a few, because that's the way I would write a journal as events happen. Same when I switch to a TV or radio broadcast, because you use their words which are immediate. These usually happen within the 1st person past chapter, so in some there is a mixture of tense. It works for me.

    I don't consider those who have a preference for either, it's my preference for the way I have decided to craft it. Anyone who doesn't like it is not my target audience. You can't please everyone. Do what you are best at, or what you think you are capable of writing.
    « Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 07:59:08 am by Decon »


    Scorpion ebooks: Full length  thrillers with a sting in the tale. All enrolled in KU & Prime.
    Declan Conner | blog

    Offline Gareth K Pengelly

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 375
    • Gender: Male
    • Leicestershire, UK
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #14 on: July 05, 2020, 07:52:07 am »
    I prefer third-person, tbh. Not a massive fan of first person, but don't press me for why, I couldn't honestly tell you.

    Offline Decon

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5056
      • View Profile
      • Declan Conner, Blog
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #15 on: July 05, 2020, 08:02:22 am »
    Lee Child started the Reacher series in 1st person all the way through the book. He says he changed to writing the series in 3rd person and no one complained. He wasn't sure if anyone noticed that were not writers, or words to that in a video interview.

    I've not read his early books so I wouldn't know.
    « Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 08:36:47 am by Decon »


    Scorpion ebooks: Full length  thrillers with a sting in the tale. All enrolled in KU & Prime.
    Declan Conner | blog

    Offline dm_pb_tx

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 87
    • Gender: Male
    • Eastern Texas
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #16 on: July 05, 2020, 09:03:15 am »
    I believe first person gives the story an immediacy.  If it's happening to the author then the reader identifies with that.  Of my four current novels only one is in first person.  However, I found that writing in first person was dramatically easier, at least for me.  That said, as a reader, I slightly prefer third person. 

    I'm on a Louis L'Amour kick right now, unusual since I am a Sci-Fi / Horror fan and writer.  It has been refreshing.  All of his novels are in first person (at least so far.)

    Also, to comment on a different thread about book length, L'Amour's novels are generally short, some pegging at just over 200 pages.  I am new to the western genre and, perhaps, that was normal for the stories or the time, I don't know.  However, I have never felt cheated with the short lengths in that his "yarns" are so entertaining and picturesque.

    DCM






    Offline TSDwrites

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 30
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #17 on: July 05, 2020, 10:27:14 am »
    Depends upon the character. I am more likely to love or hate a book in first person but have a more balanced opinion with 3rd.

    Offline Indiecognito

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 308
    • Gender: Female
    • Even I don't know who I am
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #18 on: July 05, 2020, 10:48:48 am »
    I genuinely don't care either way, but because I do write, I make sure I have access to both for various reasons.

    My favourite novel ever is Jane Eyre, and I always forget it's in first person.

    Offline Jena H

    • Status: Emily Dickinson
    • *******
    • Posts: 8002
    • North Carolina
    • Desperate character
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #19 on: July 05, 2020, 07:11:52 pm »
    In general I prefer third person.  Very often the first person POV gets in the way and I find it distracting.  However, there are books in which the POV is seamless and doesn't bring attention to itself.  Bottom line:  it has to be done well for me, and a lot of times I find it's not.
    Jena

    Offline P.W.JORDAN

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 42
    • UK
    • Don't get it right, get it written-Lee Child
      • View Profile
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #20 on: July 05, 2020, 08:07:17 pm »
    Hi, prefer third personally however that being said I'll read 1st PP.
    I did read Killing Floor but do think the Child/Reacher books benefit from 3rd.
    Nelson Demille's John Corey books are generally 1st PP and they just work. Maybe because it's an investigation and 1st PP lets us work the clues as the protagonist encounters them

    The Lion's Game uses both perspectives to great effect.

    I'm PHILLIP JORDAN, my Debut Novel 'CODE OF SILENCE' is scheduled toward the end of 2020.
    PHILLIP JORDAN | WEBSITE | LEARN MORE | CODE OF SILENCE | FACEBOOK

    Online alhawke

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 349
      • View Profile
      • A.L. Hawke website
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #21 on: July 05, 2020, 08:55:55 pm »
    it has to be done well for me, and a lot of times I find it's not.
    It think it's more challenging to write in 1st person. You have to be able to stay in character and write dialogue. You're doing two things at once and this can be easily mucked up. This is ironic since I find a lot of writers write in 1st person for their early novels. I was one of them. I think there's an excitement for being in character writing in this POV, but if you're not skilled, it's not believable.

    My personal failures in my initial endeavor is why I shelved my first book and didn't publish it. I found returning to the style many years later garnered enough experience for a much better voice. 1st person POV seems easier to write but is harder, imo.


    A.L. Hawke | Author website | Goodreads | BookBub

    Offline Doglover

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5625
    • Gender: Female
    • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
    • If you want real love, buy a dog.
      • View Profile
      • Margaret Brazear Author
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #22 on: July 05, 2020, 11:48:32 pm »
    I don't care either way, as long as the first person isn't pretentious. I stopped reading Patricia Cornwall because her heroine was first and got to a point where she was ramming down our throats how clever she was.

    However, I won't read present tense, no matter who writes it. Like alcohol, I have tried it, won't try it again.


    The past is another country; they do things differently there
    Margaret Brazear | Website | Blog | Facebook | Newsletter

    Offline C. Gold

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3579
      • View Profile
      • Golden Elm Publishing
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #23 on: July 06, 2020, 07:01:52 am »
    I just got done reading a romance written in first person present tense for both main characters. It labeled the chapter for each person so you knew right away who the POV character was and was written in such a skillful manner that I didn't even notice it was first or present because I was immersed in the story. That's a sign of skillful writing because I normally hate present and am leery of first.

    You need to choose based on what you want to get out of it (like what type of info you want to hide or reveal) and how well you think you can do it. I've turned away from more first person books than third because authors can really botch it up. If you see a lot of "I I I I I" in your paragraphs, then you aren't doing it well. The choice also depends on how likeable your main character is - would the reader want to spend an entire book in that person's head space? Maybe not.

    Offline Doglover

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5625
    • Gender: Female
    • Huntingdon, United Kingdom
    • If you want real love, buy a dog.
      • View Profile
      • Margaret Brazear Author
    Re: New POV on an old topic
    « Reply #24 on: July 06, 2020, 07:07:47 am »

    The choice also depends on how likeable your main character is - would the reader want to spend an entire book in that person's head space? Maybe not.
    Like Kay Scarpetta - definitely not!


    The past is another country; they do things differently there
    Margaret Brazear | Website | Blog | Facebook | Newsletter

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***