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Because I'm curious today... POV

Assume by 3rd person I mean limited (only one character's head at a time). I realize this is somewhat over-simplifying, but if you happen to love 2nd person narratives or omniscient, feel free to express that in the comments. :)

As readers:

Poll #1412246 The POV poll

Do you find your enjoyment of a book is noticably affected by the POV?

Yes, I prefer reading books written in 1st person ("I...").
9(23.7%)
Yes, I prefer reading books written in 3rd person ("S/He...").
8(21.1%)
No, all other things being equal I enjoy reading both 1st and 3rd.
21(55.3%)

If you have a POV preference, how much does it affect your reading decisions?

I only read books written in my preferred POV.
0(0.0%)
I will try books in the other POV, but only if they come highly recommended.
4(16.0%)
I read more books in my preferred POV, but pick up quite a few others as well.
3(12.0%)
I choose books without worrying about the POV, but I find I usually like the ones with my preferred POV better.
18(72.0%)


And for the writers:

Poll #1412247 Writing POV poll

Do you prefer writing one type of POV over the other?

Yes, I prefer writing in 1st person.
15(46.9%)
Yes, I prefer writing in 3rd person
10(31.2%)
No, I enjoy writing in both POVs equally.
7(21.9%)

If you have a POV preference, how much does it affect what you write?

I only write stories in my preferred POV.
6(21.4%)
I mostly write stories in my preferred POV, but every now and then a story insists on being different.
16(57.1%)
I write stories in all sorts of POVs, but I enjoy writing the ones in my preferred POV more.
6(21.4%)


Thank you for indulging my curiosity!

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
tamarak
Jun. 7th, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
When I used to work on novels, I always did 1st person.

With pbs, I go with 3rd person.
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
Interesting! Why do you think that is?
tamarak
Jun. 7th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Little kiddos sometimes find 1st person confusing.

They have a hard time differentiating the character 'I' from the self 'I'.
deva_fagan
Jun. 7th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
I answered for both polls that I liked both POVs equally. The caveat is, lately it seems like everything is coming out in first person. I am worrying a tiny bit that maybe I am using it as a crutch because my biggest writing problem (I think) is finding the character (making them come fully alive in my own head, not to mention on paper). First person is such a useful tool for that (not just developing it, but identifying when it's missing).

So I dunno. I'd like to write something in third again that actually works.

I am also curious to see the results! Thanks for posting this.

Edited at 2009-06-07 09:46 am (UTC)
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about this, because I *like* third person, but there are certain character things that are easier in first... Which has led to me trying to analyze why anyone *would* write a single-narrator, close third person POV instead of first person narration. What does third person give you? A little more distance, I guess?

Mostly I am trying to justify to myself wanting to write in third person. I'd like to be able to say, "Yes, this story needs to be in third for x, y, and z reasons" not just "because I feel like it." Because I am probably more left-brained than any writer should be. ;)
deva_fagan
Jun. 14th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
The thing that I do find limiting with first is that I am constrained by the narrator -- like in the Circus Book, I know I need to do a revision pass just to weed out the vocab and "polish" that is not appropriate for my main character, and the things that she really wouldn't notice/care about.

I like third person for the way it can pull back from the scene, to adopt more of a story-telling voice. My problem is that when I try to use my story-telling voice, I lose my character's voice! I think it is definitely possible to make it work (I don't think Harry Potter would have worked nearly so well in third) but I am not there yet.

And I am really interested to see what LB is like in first person!
megancrewe
Jun. 14th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Heh, actually, I've decided to stick with third person. I *felt*, looking at the two sets of pages after that the third worked better--and then, of the ten people who read the first couple pages of both, only one strongly preferred the 1st person whereas five strongly preferred the 3rd person and the other four responses were along the lines of "both work depending on what you're trying to accomplish."

Getting those comments did help me figure out why, which was reassuring. The story's about so many things *beyond* Leif, some of which he doesn't really understand or realize are important until later, and having that little bit of distance that even close third person allows makes it more likely readers will pick up on those things. (This actually happened for one of the readers even in those two pages!) And to make the first person really work I think I'd have had to make it much more internal than fit the way I wanted to tell the story.

It was still a useful exercise, though--writing it in first person helped me bring out some bits of his voice and thoughts that I then brought back to the 3rd person draft, and helped me get his motivations and backstory even clearer! :)
deva_fagan
Jun. 14th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
That's very interesting! And the good thing is, hopefully now you can be more sure about the third-person choice. Something like that happened to me with the circus book too -- tried it in first, wasn't sure it was working, went to third, nope, back to first.

Really, it all does boil down to what works for a specific book. I definitely do wish there were more clear cut rules sometimes, but I think what I really need to do is learn better how to understand the books themselves and the story they are trying to tell.
libation
Jun. 7th, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
I used to write primarily in 3rd person but now my default is to start in 1st and switch if it isn't working.
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Why did you switch? And how do you tell when it isn't working? :D
libation
Jun. 8th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
I really don't know; and I really don't know! Ha! It just "felt wrong" to write in 3rd and "feels right" to write in 1st I guess. Very unscientific, I know.
suelder
Jun. 7th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Two years ago, I couldn't imagine writing in first person. I was having trouble getting in close enough in 3rd, so I did a good chunk of Lawgiver in first - there's a reason for it. The past is told in first, a thousand years later is told in close third.

It's all about stretching and growing, right?
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, stretching and growing is always good. :) I like both pretty much equally, to read and to write, so it's interesting seeing how other people approach it and why.
skutir
Jun. 7th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
One can argue that all stories are in the first person, it's just that sometimes the narrator is invisible and nameless. It makes sense to an extent; the third person narrator has a voice and a presence in the book, often is a kind of character. Sometimes writers push the boundaries between the two; in kids lit, for example, Lemony Snicket is a character with a very strong voice who has fleeting moments in the story. There's also a book in "third person" by Kurt Vonnegut where the main character sees a guy at the bar, and KV says "that was me, the author of this story."
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Well, yes, but I did say I was simplifying. :P I suppose I would clarify it as "the POV of the main character" being 1st or 3rd, which is what people generally mean.

I do love that moment in BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. :)
robinellen
Jun. 7th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
I write mostly in 1st, although my first few books were in 3rd...and even when I've gone back and tried working on them again, they still insisted on being 3rd. Oh, and I added a link to your website, btw ;)
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :) It's hard to explain why some stories want to be one POV and others another, isn't it? I'm trying to explain to myself why I feel like LOKI'S BOY should be third and, er, failing.
boreal_owl
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I use what works for that novel. I write MGs. If I wrote YA, I'd probably go for first person most of the time.
megancrewe
Jun. 7th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I have noticed that first person is much more common in YA, and third person in MG. I wonder why that is?
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books


Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014


The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015


The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012


The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013


The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014


Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014


Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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