The Importance of Point of View

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As writers, we think a lot about point of view. Sometimes our genre dictates what POV we use, although even within a genre we can use our own creativity. Yasmine Galenorn writes paranormal romance that’s first person, unusual for the romance genre where third person is often used. YA often calls for first person, although third is also frequently employed.

I’m thinking about it this week for two reasons: one, I just started a new project, and two, I’m doing a read-through of a friend’s manuscript. Both have me thinking about genre expectations when it comes to POV. I started writing my story in first-person, present tense, rarely used in romance, and while I love writing in that POV and tense (I love the immediacy of it), I also realized when I added in the hero’s perspective that it got a little confusing. I might write the first chapter in both third and first and then seek out an opinion on which one works better. Ultimately, it’s about making sure readers don’t feel confused or jarred by point of view shifts, and jumping from POV to POV in a first-person story can be difficult.

We shall see what happens. Have you ever faced this dilemma? How did you decide?

A brief check-in:

This week I wrote 3,356 words in a new story (title pending). It’s paranormal romance—and there’s a dragon. Last week I finished the fifth draft of Spellfire’s Kiss and sent it off to beta readers, and I put the finishing touches on a short story and submitted it to a magazine. I’m also in the process of doing a read-through of a friend’s manuscript, so I’m trying to work my way through that story and give lots of feedback.

I’m currently reading Mugs and Monasteries by Cait O’Sullivan. It’s a short read, although a little confusing at times. I think it’s meant to be a little disorienting, but there were times where I felt like I’d missed something, only to realize that was just part of how the story was unfolding. Still, it’s a delightful journey into Ireland, and the characters drink lots of tea, so I can’t complain!

No major projects on the home front, just the usual tidying and baking and trying new recipes.

What have you been up to this week? I’d love to hear from you!

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8 thoughts on “The Importance of Point of View

  1. I’ve had the dual-first=person issue, while writing fan fiction. With Trip and T’Pol, it’s easy – no one who’s paying attention could mistake one for the other. That’s a benefit of different species; they have distinctly different voices.

    I’ve also drafted something with one first person and two third person POV’s.

    And I like second person, present tense when a character is significantly altered – inebriated, delusional, or the like.

    I think I would love it if the dragon were one of the participants in your new paranormal romance!

    • Yeah, I feel the voices in this WIP are very distinct, like Trip and T’Pol–one is a human woman, the other is a male dragon who’s hundreds of years old. Very different voices. I’m trying both ways, first and third, and seeing what happens. Thanks, Shan! (And yes, the dragon is the hero in this romance. It’s the first time I’ve written from a dragon’s POV, so I’m excited!)

  2. I mostly write third person though I do have a series of novellas that are in first person. And 1 novel with dual-1st person. But 3rd is definitely what I’m most comfortable with.

    Good work on the new story!!

    • I mostly use third, since I write romance and that’s the standard, but I love writing in first person. I feel closer to the character, like it’s easier to slip into their voice.

      Thanks, Fallon!

  3. I typically write 1st person/3rd for most of my books. My current series (book 3 releasing tomorrow) is 1st person with 3-4 different characters narrating. I’ve gotten some negative reviews on that, but when I wrote book 1, that was the best way to tell the story, and knew it might jar some readers. It’s okay. But I know it’s unusual. I probably won’t do that in future books unless I have to.

    I like first person present but I always get hung up with fight scenes.

    Nice work this week!

    • Congrats on having a new book coming out! That’s exciting. Yay! 🙂

      I tried writing the heroine’s scenes in 1st and the hero’s in 3rd, but that got confusing too. Now I’m trying to write both in 3rd and see what happens. I might ask my hubby to read it written both ways and see what he prefers. He’s a pretty good judge of those sorts of things.

      I love first person present, too, although I have to make sure I don’t accidentally slip into past tense since I’m so used to writing in past tense. I love the immediacy of first person present, though. We’ll see what works best for this story.

      Thanks, Erin, and congrats again on your upcoming release!

    • I love first person (haven’t tried second yet!), but I usually end up writing in third. I tend to do two POVs–hero and heroine–so third person makes the transitions easier on readers. But I do have some first person stories in the works. I even have one out on submission currently. 🙂

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