Saturday, October 22, 2011

What are your thoughts on Point of View?

I have been thinking a lot lately about point of view. I started out writing another tirade post about point of view and how important it is to keep consistent.... blah blah blah. And then I decided I did not feel like ranting.

Instead I am going to briefly mention my thoughts on point of view, and ask for yours in return. Here it goes.

I prefer to write in third person, limited - past tense. It is also my favorite to read. I don't really like third person omniscient. I get confused. And in my experience it is really hard to get it right.

I am not opposed to first person. It is very compelling when used correctly.

And in general I don't like present tense because it makes my head hurt trying to read it. And it is kind of hard to visualize some times. Although, I recently read The Hourglass Door - the prologue of which is in present tense. I loved the prologue, but I am glad that the rest of the book was not in present tense.

What are your thoughts on point of view?


  1. To be honest, I think people get a little crazy about PoV. If it's a good story, I don't care if it's in first or third (I've never seen a story written in second, but it might be kinda cool). As for limited or omniscient, I don't really care about that, either. Give me a good story however you want to do it. If you head-hop a little, so be it.

    Tense gets to me a bit more. I don't like present tense much, but if the story is written well, it quickly becomes background and doesn't interrupt the flow. As an example, Hunger Games was great and I read it quickly. I didn't enjoy Mockingjay and it was a struggle to get through. Because I had to stop and start so much, each time I picked up the book, I had to work through the present tense issue again.

  2. I do forgive a lot about a book if I like the story. Same with movies. I love alot of cjeese movies witj bad acting just because I like the story :)

    So I read The Hunger Games series and totally forgot it was in first person present tense. I can't decide if that was because it was background noise to me or just not that memorable. Or it could be that when I read my mind automatically switches everything to third person past tense.

  3. I've written in both first and third, past and present. Sometimes I start something one way, and it turns out it's meant to be written another way. That's annoying :-)

  4. I have only ever done first person and present tense i have flash fiction. I just never seems right in my longer stories. But then again I write the kind of stories that are meant to be third person past tense :)

  5. Well, if you don't want to rant (I do! I do!). First or Third, I like both, but I want it consistent, gosh darn it!

    Inconsistent POV drives me absolutely batty! Forget First to Third--shifting from character to character makes me crazy too. This isn't a pet peeve. I firmly believe that shifting POV (unless where it's specifically essential for the plot) serves only to keep me at arms length from the story. It's a constant reminder of the presence of the writer, taking me further and further from the characters with each shift.

    It's easy to see why writers do it. They get to play around and experiment, try different perspectives. But that's why I say it's lazy.

    As a reader, I couldn't give a hoot about a writer's experimentation in artistry. Crafting an interesting story is challenge enough! Why do something that's only going to pull me out of the story?


    Cut it out, you lazy writers! Show some discipline!

    *gasp *pant...

    There. I said it.

  6. Haha. I mostly agree with you. I don't mimd having multiple POV characters though because I like to get to know the other characters better. But I insist on no more than a few and there has to be a section break.

    But you make a good point. I may consider doing my next WIP from only one characters POV. Thanks!

  7. I find that I'm usually more invested in the character if it's in first-person, but of course, there's always exceptions. Harry Potter and Jane Austen write fabulous characters in third person that I find myself attached to, they're among my favorite books.
    I prefer past tense, unless it's really well-crafted. I didn't even notice The Hunger Games was is present-tense until someone pointed it out to me. My general feeling for present tense is that it works best when the book has a lot of action, otherwise, it can be just a pain to read.

  8. I know what you mean. Some times reading presenr tense gives me a headache. If a writer is going to use it -to it needs to not distract from the story.

  9. I agree with you. My favorite to write and read is third person, limited in past tense. I don't like reading present tense at all. It feels unnatural. I can handle first person if it's just one protagonist and they don't overdo it.

  10. I agree with only one protagonist with first person.

  11. I've written in both third person (limited) past tense and first person present tense. Also one is from a male pov and the other is female. (Hey, I like to test out what works best for me.) But as a reader, I don't really mind any way. Even from jumping around from character to character doesn't bother me, as long as they use it to drive the story forward, and not just as an excuse to describe what is actually going on in said character's head. Sometimes, keeping other character's thoughts a mystery is so much better to read. :)

  12. I think my favorite to write has been first person past tense. The last book I wrote was first person, and the one I'm writing now is third. I've written tons more third person, but after having written first person, I find I'm really missing it. Past tense is my favorite DEFINITELY for writing. For reading, I think it's really hard to get present tense right. If it is, though, I don't mind reading it at all.

  13. @Cassie - I like mystery too :)

    @Peggy - My biggest issue is when something takes me out of the story because I am confused. If a writteb can avoid that -I they can use whatever POV and tense they want :)

  14. Ahh... that depends... I've written 3 books in first person, but they are also from the perspective of girls and I feel you can get so much more from them that way than if it was third person. My WIP is third person, but it's also from a male perspective primarily.

    I definitely prefer to read past tense, reading present tense just does weird things with my brain. Good post!