This week's writing prompt focuses--surprise!--on writing, specifically whether participating authors prefer to use first, second, or third person point of view (POV).
For those who don't know or may have forgotten, third person POV comes in more than one flavor. There's "straight" third person in which the author or narrator is an observer, offering opinions as aside comments as he/she reports upon the events happening in the book. There's third person omnicient, in which the author plays God. The author narrates the story and delves inside each character's head to reveal each character's thoughts, feelings, and motivations. I find that particular variety of third person cumbersome. Finally, there's limited omniscient which I prefer. In the limited omniscient, I reveal the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of some of the characters, generally the hero and heroine and a sprinkling of secondary characters when I think doing so adds depth or interest. Of all my books, only Rowan contains first person POV content and that alternates with third person POV chapters.
I read a lot of books, especially "new adult" romances, that are written in alternating first person POV. Most of those are written in alternating first person POV, which sometimes works and sometimes not, depending upon how well the author can express the thoughts, feelings, insights, motivations, and speech of separate people. Whether in singular or alternating first person POV, the reader gets a deeply intimate and limited view of the story because we're looking at events from that character's point of view.
I've noticed that newer, less experienced authors often default to first person POV. It's easier than third person, because only one character's perception of events matters. Done well, first person POV really packs a punch. Robert B. Parker and Sara Paretsky use first person POV to great effect.
Finally, there's second person POV which is seldom seen and for good reason. It's extremely difficult to do, much less do well. I cannot recall when I last read a book in second person POV, although many blog posts tend to take that conversational tone. I certainly wouldn't attempt to write a novel in second person POV.
I'd be interested to which perspective readers prefer.
8/14/2018 10:08:57 am
When I began writing, I wrote the same way as the books I'd been reading, which turned out to be 3rd person Omnicient (limited, I think). I saw nothing wrong with it, but discovered after attempting to get published, that the rules had changed. No more head-hopping.
8/14/2018 11:59:16 am
As long as the reader understands which character is thinking/speaking/acting, then what's the big deal. I'd suggest that a smooth, seamless transition from one character to another without confusing the reader or pulling the reader from the story is a mark of skill.
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