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Discussion Starter #1
I finished a WIP a few days before Christmas, ending at just over 118k words.  Rather than setting it aside for a few weeks and then starting the first round of edits, I'm thinking of changing the POV. Here's why.

It's written in third person limited, but as a YA (which my wife informs me it is) I'm thinking it may read better in first person past. I hesitate to call it YA due to its length, the fact that it's character driven, and it contains a smattering of foul language and mature themes (child abuse and rape), but if it is that I want to get it right.

My question is whether or not the use of first person POV critical to success in that genre, and would it likely be worth the extra time spent converting it?

Since all I can seem to do is equivocate on the subject, I thought I'd ask you wiser, more experienced writers for your thoughts on it. Thanks for your input.
 

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My initial reaction is that YA does not have to be first-person, does not have to be past-tense, and can contain extremely "mature" themes. But each book is an individual, so it's hard to answer the POV question for your book in particular.

Do you know any experienced YA lit beta-readers who'd be willing to read the draft and give you feedback on genre and POV?
 

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Don't change the POV. It's an enormous job, and likely won't make any difference to how the book does. (If your POV is truly close-limited, then the telling of the story shouldn't change if you do alter the pronoun throughout. If changing it to first-person alters a ton of content, then it's not really close-limited.)

Do a revision, and alter whatever parts you don't love. You CAN vary the narrative distance without changing POV.

Finish it, and put the time you save into a new project.
 

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Changing the point of view can only harm the piece by introducing errors, in my opinion. I'd say the vast majority of the errors that have wound up in the published versions of my online articles and blog posts crept in because of last minute, whole sale revisions in irrelevant things such as tense, point of view, and passive vs active voice. In all likelihood, you already instinctively wrote your story in the best tense and point of view for the particular setting and circumstances. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
 

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I personally enjoy reading a first person book, however, I've seen some strong negative reactions from readers on this POV.  I wonder what % of YA market is in first person? I bet it's pretty small. The no-nonsense business side of me says this is probably not a good idea.  The starving artist in me says go for it and who cares what people think.

Have this argument with yourself and see who wins.
 

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Here's another vote for not changing the point of view, and since it is so long, any chance of serielising it into two or three books? I know that wasn't what you were wanting an opinion on, but these days series make writers more money than stand alone books, particulalry if you heavily promote the first one and/or offer that one for free for a time.
 

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I don't think you should change the POV unless you think the STORY absolutely NEEDS it to change in order to become a better story.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all who responded with advice. It's so very appreciated, and obviously needed. :-[

Mike - Are you saying be willing to spend the time doing the rewrite? Or the opposite? I wasn't sure of your point. I can see that my post was a bit ambiguous, now I re-read it. For clarification sake, I should have said I just finished the first draft. Don't know if that would make a difference in anyone's advice.

A couple of people have offered to beta read for me. One is my sister (so that one automatically gets discounted), and I'm doubtful that the other person has much experience with YA. But you make a good point, Becca.

Dalya said:
Don't change the POV. It's an enormous job, and likely won't make any difference to how the book does. (If your POV is truly close-limited, then the telling of the story shouldn't change if you do alter the pronoun throughout. If changing it to first-person alters a ton of content, then it's not really close-limited.)

Do a revision, and alter whatever parts you don't love. You CAN vary the narrative distance without changing POV.

Finish it, and put the time you save into a new project.
I made a concerted effort not to head hop or jump POVs so, yeah, I believe it truly is 3rd close-limited. My concern was initially sparked by recalling a prior thread on KB about the best POV for YA. Most--and I could be remembering this wrong--weighed in that 1st person limited was typical or preferable. But as you say, if it makes little difference in how the book is received, spend the time on another project.

I know you're right, Cherise, that chances are good errors would be introduced that aren't there now. That was also a concern, knowing my tendencies, that it might wind up one giant convoluted mess.

Adam - It is lengthy. As I revise, I know there will be darlings to kill and things to omit. I already know that the middle sags like a thatched roof. Then again, I know there are many instances of sketchy characterization or description, so it may grow some in that regard.

gljones said:
I personally enjoy reading a first person book, however, I've seen some strong negative reactions from readers on this POV. I wonder what % of YA market is in first person? I bet it's pretty small. The no-nonsense business side of me says this is probably not a good idea. The starving artist in me says go for it and who cares what people think.

Have this argument with yourself and see who wins.
I've been arguing with myself without a clear winner. I was hoping a clear answer would arise from you disinterested but all-knowing KBers. And I think it has.

So, unless there is a clear "market" reason for changing it, and since everyone here generally acknowledges what pain the back side it would be, I'll keep it as is. Can it be split into a series? I don't know, Emma, probably not. Maybe two at most. In fact, it almost reads like two distinct stories as it is. Something else that requires a cure.

Thanks again for your input, everybody. Happy New Year!
 
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