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Christyp
01-17-2012, 05:35 AM
I was daydreaming (writing a book in my head) while on our four hour trip to Memphis this weekend. Strangely, when I write in my head I always write in third. However, when I switch over to pounding on the keys, I always write in first. I feel when I write in first POV I become the character. Which, by the way, keeps me from writing while my kids around. Something about becoming an assassin, or prostitute, or lusty vampire while my kids are nearby doesn't bode well.

So, now that I'm done rambling, why do you write in your preferred POV? Or do you even have a reason?

thethinker42
01-17-2012, 06:02 AM
I used to write in third most of the time, but then started writing in first ALL the time, and now it's very difficult for me to switch back. Third just feels weird.

swvaughn
01-17-2012, 06:18 AM
I started out writing in 3rd and wrote a lot of books. Then I wrote something in 1st and got published by Simon & Schuster with it. And then... I switched back to 3rd, because I don't like the story limitations that come with writing well in 1st person.

So, I think the answer to your question is that I write 3rd because 1st is limiting to me. :D

Honestly, I feel just as inside the skin of my 3rd-POV characters as I did with my 1st-P narrator. I just enjoy getting into multiples...

Heh. :D

Drachen Jager
01-17-2012, 07:31 AM
I think the perspective should be determined by the story, not the author.

blacbird
01-17-2012, 07:39 AM
I don't have a preferred POV. I do what the story seems to demand as the best approach.

I do have a non-preferred POV: Second-person narrative. If I use all of my verbal skills to express fully how much I detest this form of narration, your computer will melt down.

And maybe explode.

caw

COchick
01-17-2012, 07:40 AM
I usually write in first because it's what feels most natural to me. While I'm writing the story, it's almost like I'm becoming that main character, and I'm telling it myself, KWIM? I have a story brewing that I feel would be best in third, but I have a feeling it would be a struggle for me. :(

blacbird
01-17-2012, 08:00 AM
I'm telling it myself, KWIM?

I have no idea what this acronym means, but a phonetic version of it was a vulgar sexual reference in Victorian England.

caw

kuwisdelu
01-17-2012, 08:00 AM
As others have said, it depends on the story. Most of my stories have a 1st person narrator, but a few of them are mostly told in 3rd person (by which I mean it either rotates to a 3rd POV or the narrator is not the main character). I use whatever narrator I feel is most appropriate for the story.


I do have a non-preferred POV: Second-person narrative. If I use all of my verbal skills to express fully how much I detest this form of narration, your computer will melt down.

And maybe explode.

I enjoy well-done second-person. I dare you to convince me why it's bad.

***

I think I'll make blacbird even more riled up by saying that I sometimes write in 1st person omniscient when my narrator isn't the main character rather than write in 3rd because it fits my style more.

This could be fun.

COchick
01-17-2012, 08:07 AM
I have no idea what this acronym means, but a phonetic version of it was a vulgar sexual reference in Victorian England.

caw

*snicker* I may have to use it more often.

I meant to say "know what I mean"

Libbie
01-17-2012, 08:07 AM
Because I prefer it. ;)

blacbird
01-17-2012, 08:16 AM
I meant to say "know what I mean"

Clearly, i didn't know what you meant.

And, as an aside, that toss-off phrase is one of the most irritating clichés in vogue today. Any famous pop musician or athlete you ever hear interviewed will fire off one of these every other statement. To which the proper response ought to be:

"No. I don't have a fucking clue what you mean. Why don't you tell me what you mean?"

caw

The Lonely One
01-17-2012, 08:29 AM
Oddly, I don't have a preferred POV, although I feel like a lot of authors do. It really is a per-story preference.

I started a sci-fi story in third person that was boring me to tears. Inserted a first-person perspective and it wasn't even the same story. Suddenly the plot revealed itself to me.

Other times, a first-person perspective ended up being intrusive and the voice got in the way of the story. Stepped back and, bam, clarity and steady pacing.

Maybe it depends on how "internal" the plot is, but I can't help but imagine there are more than a few intangibles that contribute to that decision as well.

kaitie
01-17-2012, 08:43 AM
I feel more comfortable with first, but I'll write based on what seems best for the story. Writing first just tends to be easier. I fight more with third.

COchick
01-17-2012, 08:50 AM
Clearly, i didn't know what you meant.

And, as an aside, that toss-off phrase is one of the most irritating clichés in vogue today. Any famous pop musician or athlete you ever hear interviewed will fire off one of these every other statement. To which the proper response ought to be:

"No. I don't have a fucking clue what you mean. Why don't you tell me what you mean?"

caw

Jeezus-pleezus. I didn't mean to get your panties in a ruffle.

Jamesaritchie
01-17-2012, 08:51 AM
So, now that I'm done rambling, why do you write in your preferred POV? Or do you even have a reason?

Because not doing so probably means writing a bad novel that either won't get published, or that will need more work than it should.

But favorite POV should mean the POV you read the most, not the one you try to write the most.

kuwisdelu
01-17-2012, 09:03 AM
Jeezus-pleezus. I didn't mean to get your panties in a ruffle.

I did. :evil

COchick
01-17-2012, 09:05 AM
I, for one, choose to go commando. *flounces off*

blacbird
01-17-2012, 10:00 AM
Jeezus-pleezus. I didn't mean to get your panties in a ruffle.

Sorry. That came across as nastier than intended. I really only meant to bring up a generalized irritation at that widely-abused phrase, not at you. I work with a person, otherwise agreeable, who falls back on that phrase in every other sentence, as an excuse for not actually saying something useful.

Apologies.

caw

COchick
01-17-2012, 11:07 AM
No problem. :)

DeleyanLee
01-17-2012, 12:40 PM
How I see the story determines what POV it's written in. Some come in third, some come in first, most often in past, but occasionally in present.

Reading-wise, I'm comfortable with anything except second person. Getting told what "you"--meaning me the reader--is doing gets really annoying REALLY fast.

fireluxlou
01-17-2012, 12:58 PM
Well I like third and get annoyed by books in 1st person.

But the story I am writing calls to be told to write in 1st person. And I'm getting past that cringy feeling. I prefer 3rd I do but I'm finding it hard to write in it lately.

crunchyblanket
01-17-2012, 03:07 PM
Depends on the story. I'd read that 3rd person was the 'proper' way to write a story (yes, yes, I know) I wrote 15k of a story in third person before realising that it just didn't work. My MC was crying out for first person.

So I did it again, in first, and it's much better for it.

backslashbaby
01-17-2012, 03:33 PM
I choose by what I want to show about the characters. I'm boring that way.

I do sometimes have to start in 1st person to kick-start a close 3rd work. I get a better feel for the character writing in 1st, even if the story will end up in Close 3rd. I usually choose which to use of those two by how many perspectives there will be in the story. If there is just one, it's 1st. Generally, if other characters' perspectives will be used, it's 3rd.

But I like omni, too, very much. I'd never try 2nd, because I don't get it as an author. I just read a story in 2nd that I enjoyed as a reader, but it still doesn't appeal to me very much to use.

scarletpeaches
01-17-2012, 04:08 PM
I write in first because it's more real. In life, we can only be inside one head -- our own. So that's why I stick to one head in my books -- my MC's.

Although, having said that, my next to-be-published novel is written in third. But it was something I originally drafted years ago, before I discovered the delights of first person. I can't see me writing in third ever again, but never say never. It's possible, but unlikely.

Some readers have complained "Wah, wah, wah, I wanted to get inside [love interest's name's] head as well," to which I say, "Pfft."

As I've said before, in life you live inside one head. In my books, the same applies. I don't do head-jumping, so stop asking me to.

Anne Lyle
01-17-2012, 04:13 PM
I've always tended to write third person - I prefer to write multiple PoV and it's more conventional to do that in third.

I wouldn't rule out first person, but it would need the right kind of book.

bearilou
01-17-2012, 05:15 PM
Because I prefer it. ;)

Damn. Beat me to it.

scarletpeaches
01-17-2012, 05:17 PM
Not exactly a reason, though. Of course we write in the POV we prefer. The question is why do we prefer it?

Prisoner24601
01-17-2012, 05:33 PM
Most of the time I write in third person because it feels more natural to me to write that way. I wouldn't rule out ever writing a story in first person, if for some reason I was inspired.

But then, I'm not a fan of reading first person pov books in general. Even though some of my favorite books ever have been written in first person, usually I find it annoying to be confined that closely in a character's pov. A book or even short story, has to be something really special to convince me to stick through a first person pov.

Jamesaritchie
01-17-2012, 07:43 PM
If a writer doesn't really enjoy reading a given POV, and doesn't read one heck of a lot of books in a given POV, trying to write it usually means failure.

First person is easy to write, but it's incredibly hard to write well. A writer who doesn't love reading it is probably going to fail miserably trying to write it, no matter how easy it seems.

I don't believe stories call for anything. Writers decide what kind of story to tell, and how to tell it, and giving power to the story is just wrong. A story works because of how well the writer tells it, not because the story demands anything. Stories can't demand, stories can't want.

The question is not what does the story demand, it's how can I tell this story in the best possible way. The answer is by doing what I do best.

Dr.Gonzo
01-17-2012, 07:53 PM
If a writer doesn't really enjoy reading a given POV, and doesn't read one heck of a lot of books in a given POV, trying to write it usually means failure.

First person is easy to write, but it's incredibly hard to write well. A writer who doesn't love reading it is probably going to fail miserably trying to write it, no matter how easy it seems.

I don't believe stories call for anything. Writers decide what kind of story to tell, and how to tell it, and giving power to the story is just wrong. A story works because of how well the writer tells it, not because the story demands anything. Stories can't demand, stories can't want.

The question is not what does the story demand, it's how can I tell this story in the best possible way. The answer is by doing what I do best.

I agree with this. All of it.

I write in first. I love reading first. Something about becoming a character that sets the tone instantly. I've never felt limited by my choice of POV. I can write whatever story I want.

The Lonely One
01-17-2012, 07:55 PM
If a writer doesn't really enjoy reading a given POV, and doesn't read one heck of a lot of books in a given POV, trying to write it usually means failure.Agree.


First person is easy to write, but it's incredibly hard to write well. A writer who doesn't love reading it is probably going to fail miserably trying to write it, no matter how easy it seems. also agree.


I don't believe stories call for anything. Writers decide what kind of story to tell, and how to tell it, and giving power to the story is just wrong. A story works because of how well the writer tells it, not because the story demands anything. Stories can't demand, stories can't want.

The question is not what does the story demand, it's how can I tell this story in the best possible way. The answer is by doing what I do best.Don't completely agree, here. I mean, it may be a semantic issue with how the language is used, personifying the act of writing itself. But in a more general sense, I think certain scenarios with certain characters call for different distances/camera angles for an individual plot to best develop. Sometimes a POV character's first-person perspective just isn't right for a story's development; the wrong kinds of things get revealed because of their individual perspective.

For me, as I'm sure with some others, the pov needs to be revealed through some tinkering. I don't always write one POV, and I've had first-, third-, even second-person POVs published, so it isn't too difficult to be ambidextrous if I of all people can do it.

I'm sure authors have certain styles they're drawn to, which probably means there are certain types of stories they're drawn to as well. This could explain why there is a "preferred POV."

On the whole, though, I agree with you. Creative writers should write what they love or are interested in.

bearilou
01-17-2012, 08:02 PM
Not exactly a reason, though. Of course we write in the POV we prefer. The question is why do we prefer it?

I write in my preferred POV because it's a POV I prefer to read. That's the reason. Because I prefer it. :)


why do you write in your preferred POV? Or do you even have a reason?

So to answer the question, I don't really have any other reason than it's a preferred POV.

Or I suppose I could continue to wax philosophic about how I simply am not fond of first so I don't want to write in it. Or that maybe, because it's not something I'm fond of reading in (although I will), I don't feel like I'd do it justice by trying to write in it, especially not this early in the writing game for me. Or that I just like reading third better and it's a more natural form for me to get behind.

It is all still coming down to preference, at least for me.

AndreaGS
01-17-2012, 08:15 PM
I love reading and writing both 3rd and 1st. I think some stories call for one, while other call for the other. They both have their pros and cons, so I just pick the one I think works best with the story.

gothicangel
01-17-2012, 08:43 PM
I don't have a preferred POV. I've written in first and third, and write in the POV the story demands.

heza
01-17-2012, 09:02 PM
I've never found POV to make or break a story I was reading--not even second. When I started writing, I switched back and forth between first and third (though not within the same work) with no trouble. I've even written in 2nd. I didn't even think about one being harder than the other. I guess that's not the case for me. For me, omniscient is the tough one--or rather, clearly delineating it as a recognizable POV from my close third.

I guesss I might agree that some stories call for first and some call for third, but I'm not sure I've ever thought about it that way, either. When a story idea first comes to me, someone starts talking in my head... he's either talking about his experience (first) or about other people's experiences (third), and I've never considered forcing the viewpoint into something else.

But that's another thing: unlike everyone else who's mentioned it, I don't "get in the skin" of my characters. I write close, but I never feel like I am that character. I'm always aware that I am not the narrator; I'm.... the transcriber, I suppose.

The stories I've written in third have a tendency to work better with a voyueristic approach--looking in on other people's lives. They don't know I'm watching because they aren't telling me their story--someone else is. With first, on the other, I feel like the character is entrusting me with his story, and that makes receiving it much more personal to me--not that I feel like I am the character but sort of like we're in it together. How that applies to plot- vs. character driven stories or internal vs. external conflict, I don't know. I guess there has to be some kind of correlation there, but I can't see it. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with how much revelation will affect the plot... I just know that for whatever reason, one narrator needs to tell me his own story, while another narrator needs to tell me important stuff he knows about other people.

I actually like 2nd, though. I don't feel like I'm being told what I'm doing anymore than someone who feels like they are the character in first-person would. It doesn't feel bossy to me.

Tepelus
01-17-2012, 09:18 PM
I generally write in third, but when I see my story in my head I see it as real life, not in third or first (or second). I see their lives before me in my mind's eye, and often times I'll be in my MC's skin, or perhaps in another character's skin, seeing, thinking, feeling what they do. And then I scribe their lives the best I can.

timewaster
01-17-2012, 11:16 PM
I don't have a preferred POV. I do what the story seems to demand as the best approach.

I do have a non-preferred POV: Second-person narrative. If I use all of my verbal skills to express fully how much I detest this form of narration, your computer will melt down.

And maybe explode.

caw

I agree. I've written everything but second and the POV tends to come with the story.

SaronaNalia
01-17-2012, 11:58 PM
Second is actually my favorite. I adore it. But I don't find that it fits every story, so I end up writing in third quite a bit more often.

elindsen
01-18-2012, 03:39 AM
I love love love first. Reading and writing. Feels more intimate. I like getting to know a character that closely.

kuwisdelu
01-18-2012, 03:42 AM
I tend to write in first because I like to have a narrator, so it's either that or omniscient.

Rise2theTop
01-18-2012, 03:56 AM
I write dual 3rd. Why? It's what I do best.

reiver33
01-18-2012, 03:56 AM
I always write in first as I find other prespectives too remote.

ChaosTitan
01-18-2012, 07:47 PM
I don't have a preferred POV. I do what the story seems to demand as the best approach.



I don't have a preferred POV. I've written in first and third, and write in the POV the story demands.


Ditto both of these. Some stories work well in first, others work better in third, and I enjoy writing both.

scarletpeaches
01-18-2012, 08:13 PM
It's a sign of a great book when I don't even notice the POV or tense.

Aspiring Author
01-18-2012, 08:40 PM
I think the POV entirely depends on the type of story and characters you are writing. Certain narratives suit a certain type of POV. It depends on whether you want to focus on one particular character's perception or show the reactions and thoughts of different characters to shape a scene and story. The 'unreliable narrator' technique can be very powerful and intriguing, for example- as can third person writing where you show a 'scene' and wish to enlighten the reader's understanding of more than one character.

I think a good writer should have flexibility in regard to writing in different POVs- feel free to disagree but that's my personal opinion.

I've sometimes heard people say that third person is too remote and they have a strong preference for first person narration- I think that's nonsense, it's too limiting in fiction and effectively would force everything to be like reading someone's diary.

Second person narrative is almost conversational and somewhat didactic in tone, I find - I think it is rarely used because its assumptive and challenging for readers. That's not to say that it can't be effective in certain scenarios.

KSandoval
01-18-2012, 10:02 PM
All my very favorite books are written in third-person. Which isn't to say I haven't read some good first-person, I think third person allows one to have a bit more fun with the prose, and my favorite stories are usually ones where the beauty of the prose has captured me. In first, I always have a hard time believing the protagonist would actually be thinking such things about the scene.

That said, I've written in all three. The only story I've published so far was a short experiment with second. And I really love seeing second used well, it has such intimacy. I don't know that I've encountered any long form second that I've liked.

I often feel like I should be using first. It's easy for me to write in and I find when I write in it my writing tends to be lighter, and have more humor. I've never attempted to write a novel in first, but it's the POV I've used for most my short stories.

Third limited is what I like to use when I'm writing novels. It allows me a little more freedom to play with the prose without feeling impersonal. I think this preference probably makes my novels a little less cozy than my short works, but if I try to write a long work in first, I always end up shifting to third.

KaiaSonderby
01-18-2012, 10:54 PM
I choose either 1st or 3rd, depending on what I need the story to do. I think both can be equally compelling, but not always equal. There are certain books I wish had been written in 3rd person and vice versa, so I always think of that when I'm choosing.

My recent zombie novel was written in first person to put the reader as close as possible (even uncomfortably close) to what was happening, but I think you can still bring the reader in close with 3rd if it's the right story.

But what do I know? I write too many genres and am never afraid to write more than one 1st person POV in a book. :D

Jehhillenberg
01-18-2012, 11:19 PM
Most of the time I write in third person because it feels more natural to me to write that way. I wouldn't rule out ever writing a story in first person, if for some reason I was inspired.

But then, I'm not a fan of reading first person pov books in general. Even though some of my favorite books ever have been written in first person, usually I find it annoying to be confined that closely in a character's pov. A book or even short story, has to be something really special to convince me to stick through a first person pov.

Yeah I totally get this. I enjoy reading first. On the other hand, some characters (MCs/protags) are unappealing, unsympathetic, unrelatable, and/or unlikable to me and that makes it harder to get through their sole viewpoint.


I started out writing in 3rd and wrote a lot of books. Then I wrote something in 1st and got published by Simon & Schuster with it. And then... I switched back to 3rd, because I don't like the story limitations that come with writing well in 1st person.

So, I think the answer to your question is that I write 3rd because 1st is limiting to me. :D

Honestly, I feel just as inside the skin of my 3rd-POV characters as I did with my 1st-P narrator. I just enjoy getting into multiples...

Heh. :D

Some people just say it way better than I can. ^This is my view/feeling as well when it comes to writing it.


I don't believe stories call for anything. Writers decide what kind of story to tell, and how to tell it, and giving power to the story is just wrong. A story works because of how well the writer tells it, not because the story demands anything. Stories can't demand, stories can't want.

The question is not what does the story demand, it's how can I tell this story in the best possible way. The answer is by doing what I do best.

^ Agreed.

Raula
01-18-2012, 11:55 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one to daydream stories in my head, Christyp, though mine are usually in the first person. Funny, too, how those stories are always different to the ones I write.

I have written in first-person since I do not know how long ago. It started off as present tense first-person, which I still believe is very powerful when used properly, but now I write in the past tense. I find it's much easier to get inside your MCs head and create a connection when the story is in first person.

Occaisonally I will venture into third-person limited but haven't for years written in third-person omniscient or second-person.

virtue_summer
01-19-2012, 12:26 AM
I usually write in third person because most of my favorite stories (not all) are in third. Most of the stories I've read in my life have been in third. It comes most naturally. I also tend to enjoy alternating perspectives, and I think third often works well for that. I'll write in first if I think a story's better that way, though. The only thing that I don't plan to ever do, because I find it's often jarring to me when others do it, is to alternate first and third in the same story.

Ken
01-19-2012, 12:37 AM
... first and 3rd limited are my preferred POVs. In large part that's b/c I'm simply better at writing in those, than in others like omniscient. I get the sense, too, that 3rd and 1st are easier to manage. That suits me as I've never been a sophisticated sort of writer. Simplicity suits me. Same for my characters. What can one do? :Shrug:

Todd Young
01-19-2012, 12:49 AM
1st person really annoys me, and so does omniscient to some extent. I like close third person because I find it easier to relate to the characters.