Romance in First Person POV?

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MaryLennox

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I am transitioning from writing YA to Adult. I've had one beta reader take a look at my newest ms, and was told it felt similar in tone and style to my other books, which are YA. The mc is still quite young (24 and still figuring out her life) and my beta reader is just a friend who doesn't actually read YA or romance. I definitely plan on getting more beta readers, and ones who are not people I know personally. The writing friend who read this ms is just a close friend and the first person who reads *anything* I write.

I recently watched a writing Vlog that claimed first person POV is used more commonly in YA and not adult. Now I'm have trouble remembering if this is true, pertaining to all the recent YA and Adult romance novels I have read. All of the adult romance books I have on hand do seem to be close third person, but I'm not sure if this is just a coincidence.

My ms *is* first person POV, and I'm wondering if this could be giving it more of a YA vibe? For more context, the ms is a character driven sci-fi story and would be part of an on-going series. I'm definitely going to try out changing the POV for at least the first three chapters and see how it feels. But I was also wondering about others' opinions on POV in YA vs. Adult romance. Thanks.
 

LJD

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There is quite a bit of first-person adult romance. Depends on exactly the sort of romance you read. I can rec come if you like.

Out of curiosity, is it dual POVs in first person? Or just one POV?

ETA: also first person is fairly common in new adult romance, I think, though I don't read tons of new adult.
 

MaryLennox

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My ms is just single POV. I do feel like I've read first person POV adult romance (including dual POV), so maybe it's just the books I have on hand that are mostly third person. I do use the library a lot.

I would love recs of romance that is not only first person POV, but also features a younger mc - in their early to mid twenties. I do tend to lean towards reading romance books where the mc is in their 20s or 30s. I was trying to explain to my friend who beta read that there is a huge range - it's not just YA or Adult, there's every different decade of "Adult". A romance book about a 24 year old will have a different tone than a romance about a 44 year old.
 

LJD

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Are you looking for contemporary romance? Or a different subgenre?
 

MaryLennox

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Probably contemporary. My ms might be considered sci-fi, but I actually think of it as contemporary that just happens to take place on a space ship. There's no big bad alien or chosen one or galactic battles. It's more...work drama/contemporary romance, and their workplace is a space ship. Trying to figure out how to market/explain the ms is a whole other issue.
 

LJD

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m/f contemporary, female POV
Intercepted by Alexa Martin
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
(I think all these heroines are in their twenties)

m/f contemporary, male POV (rarer)
Tangled by Emma Chase
Big Rock by Lauren Blakely

m/f contemporary, both POVs in first
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Most Eligible Billionaire by Annika Martin
Hold Me by Courtney Milan
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

m/m contemporary, both POVs in first
American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

The type of SF romance you're writing probably exists, but I only read contemporary and historical, so I can't help you there.
 

katfeete

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I believe “New Adult” is the current term for the early 20s trying-to-find-place-in-life protagonist. Jesse Mihalik’s sf romance series The Consortium Rebellion is first person female perspective NA. I was going to recommend Sally Thorne but I see LJD has beat me to it. :) Her second book, 99 Percent Mine, is also first person NA.
 

MaryLennox

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I'm very uncertain about the whole NA thing. I hear so many conflicted things about it. Some people say it was a fad and you should either pick YA or Adult. Most people say NA is only for romances. Someone on this board said it's specifically contemporary romances? Which I don't think is true? The stuff I do see as NA seems to encompass all romance genres. Honestly, I keep leaning towards it because it makes sense that it's not YA, but the mc is still figuring out her life, as many people in their 20s are. But I also see conflicting info about age for NA - some say just college-aged mcs (generally 22 and under), some put it as an 18-30 range. I find the whole NA thing confusing and I think other people do too? But at the same time, I also think it makes sense to have this other sub-category, and my ms feels like it'd be the right age/tone for NA.

Thank you for those recs, they sound great.
 

veinglory

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I think it is true to say 1st person is much more common in YA than romance. The most typical romance approach is deep 3rd, one or two POVs. But romance is a big genre with a lot of diversity and 1st 1 POV is not really unusual.
 

LJD

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I'm not entirely sure what the deal with NA is now, either. I only really saw it take off in contemporary romance, and I don't see publishers talking about it anymore, though there are definitely some indie books that would qualify and some are being called such. Are you querying the book? Unless the agent/publisher specifically says they are looking for NA, I would just call it sci-fi romance. IMHO.

Also I think the age range mostly applies to contemporary. (Personally, I usually see it as a heroine who's 18-24 in m/f romance.) In historical romance, for example, it is common for the heroine to be <25, but it isn't called NA.

Sorry, I don't have good advice on this.
 

MaryLennox

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I'm not entirely sure what the deal with NA is now, either. I only really saw it take off in contemporary romance, and I don't see publishers talking about it anymore, though there are definitely some indie books that would qualify and some are being called such. Are you querying the book? Unless the agent/publisher specifically says they are looking for NA, I would just call it sci-fi romance. IMHO.

Also I think the age range mostly applies to contemporary. (Personally, I usually see it as a heroine who's 18-24 in m/f romance.) In historical romance, for example, it is common for the heroine to be <25, but it isn't called NA.

Sorry, I don't have good advice on this.

I'm going to be self-publishing, because it is a series without a definite number of books. It will be more episodic in nature, and the goal is to put out more than one per year. For those reasons, I would like to have full control over this particular project and decided I'm going to go the self-publishing route. (My previous books are with publishers, but none of them are series.) I guess I have more time to research the NA thing, while I'm also learning everything I need to know about self-publishing.
 

Gillhoughly

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Use the POV that best tells the protag's story, think of them first, and then what works best for you and your gut.

I began with first person, most of the books I loved best were in 1st. The experience of getting into a character's head, feeling their emotions, sweating their sweat, was all there. It wasn't until my 3rd book hit the stands (good reviews for all) that someone told me it was the hardest to write. That was a surprise, it was the most natural for me, doing about 12 titles for 2 series.

I did not go after 3rd person until I read Lois McMaster Bujold who is an expert in that POV and has the Hugo awards to prove it. I studied her works and learned that voice.

My teacher for 1st person romance is Mary Stewart. Largely ignored now, she is the one to read to learn how to do it. She elevated the genre into the classics level, along with Mary Renault and Daphne Du Maurier.

I did write a romance in 3rd, using the tools learned from Bujold. Fun stuff, feisty characters, snappy dialogue. I need to do another. :)
 

Kjbartolotta

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someone told me it was the hardest to write.

That's crazy, also seems to be part of that conventional wisdom that's trotted out to newbie writers and becomes the general rule. I'm still remembering Jonathan Lethem's (who is a fellow writer, so I will hold my powder) famous advice of "Write in third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly". One of his ten rules that gets called back to regularly, and not because the writing community agrees with it.
 
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MaryLennox

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Thank you Gillhoughy and Kjbartolotta. After playing around with it since the original post, I think I'm still leaning heavily toward using the first person pov, which felt most natural from the beginning, for this particular story. It could very easily be the kind of story that follows a few characters in close third, but I feel like I purposely want to limit myself to make the story more personal. I just keep worrying that later in the series I may come to regret this. lol
 

LJD

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I'm going to be self-publishing, because it is a series without a definite number of books. It will be more episodic in nature, and the goal is to put out more than one per year. For those reasons, I would like to have full control over this particular project and decided I'm going to go the self-publishing route. (My previous books are with publishers, but none of them are series.) I guess I have more time to research the NA thing, while I'm also learning everything I need to know about self-publishing.

Yeah. A quick look at NA bestseller lists on Amazon and Kobo shows that it's about 98% contemporary. (I found a couple that weren't contemporary...but just a couple.) Good luck!

I self-publish romance, and it was a good decision for me.
 

MaryLennox

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Yes, I was looking into it too - NA seems to be mostly contemporary.
 

Meemossis

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I had the same problem. My MS is an adult romance with an MC in her early twenties. Both my first and second drafts were in first-person but I then changed it to third-person during my third draft. It did help, and it gave my story weight. I think I may have seen the same video that said first person can seem quite juvenile. I agree, but it's a personal preference.
 

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