Monday, March 14, 2011

Who is telling your story?

Ever since I learned about them I have been fascinated by the concept of POV. And I have always felt limited by the concept of first person OR third person POV, I even remembered getting in a ‘fight’ with my 3rd grade teacher that second person HAD to exist because otherwise why not just call third person second person. I’m pretty sure she went home and drank that night after class; I mean she was just trying to get through her lesson about basic POV’s and this little 3rd grader would not let the moment pass without an explanation she was not prepared to give me.

I did my best to control my little 3rd grader outrage, but this was before Wikipedia and my parents had yet to invest in a real set of encyclopedias so I had no way of knowing. Luckily (for my parents and teacher) it was 3rd grad and a few days later something else happened that took my focus away from this prevalent issue. But it was still there someplace, lurking, waiting, and biding its time.

Eventually in high school a teacher would break it down for me like this:
First person means I am telling the story
Second person means you are telling the story
Third person means they are telling the story

Ah I get it.

Choosing a POV to tell my story from seemed to me as big of a task as anything else about plotting. I know a lot of people just pick first person or third person and go with it. But for me, there had to be a reason. If I tell from first person, what am I trying to achieve from showing the story from my MC’s eyes? What special can she bring? But if I tell it from third person how would it be different? What things would change? What meaning would change? And what way is better?

Finally being me… I settled on the most difficult thing.

Technically, my story is told from first person. But it reads third person omniscient because the character telling the story is not physically in the story till the very end.  It’s a precarious balance because I want to hint at this the entire story so it is not a crazy surprise when it is reveled. But not have it obvious either.  Oh… and the person telling the story is psychic and tells the story in real time.  What can I say?… I’m an earth sign; I like to make my life difficult.

So what I want to know is, was choosing your POV natural? Did you think about it as hard as me? Why did you choose the POV you chose? Is there anything different about your POV?

And for a little bit of more fun, to meet some cool people, and for the chance to win a few more super fun prizes be sure to check out the Now Starring Blogfest that I am hosting with the love of my life Lindz from Rapturous Randomocity.


  1. I put no thought into choosing my POV -- 1st person POV just seemed to fit my style and voice.

  2. I never thought about it. When I start doing character explorations on paper, the voice comes with the POV.

  3. I've always written in third person omniscient. For my WIP it just felt natural.

  4. I naturally write in 3rd person, but not always omniscient. I usually take it from one character's viewpoint, or swap each chapter or section (like 'The Lady and the Unicorn' or 'Sexing the Cherry') I'm not a big one for analysing what I'm doing, I write very organically; just as it feels right.

  5. I've never really thought about it. First person always came more natural for me. I've written in third person before, but only with short projects. I'm not sure how that would work out with a larger project. Hmmm...

  6. I never consider POV when I start writing - the story just always comes with it's own POV attached, as it were. While I usually write in 3rd past I've found myself writing 1st present before.

    That's not to say that the POV I began writing in is always a good one. I started writing Fie Eoin in 3rd omni but my writing group said it was very head-hoppy, so I had to decide who to use as the POV character for each scene. Maybe if I did think on POV a little bit more before beginning to write it wouldn't have been a problem :)

  7. When I wrote the first draft of my WIP, I didn't put much thought into POV. I went with 3rd person purely because that's how it came out on the page when I sat down to write.

    But when I got the story professionally appraised, I received feedback that, although the plot was strong, the appraiser didn't get a good sense of the characters. After thinking long and hard about hard to address this, I decided to completely rewrite the novel, changing it from 3rd person to 1st person, alternating between my two main characters.

    I believe this has allowed me to bring my characters' personalities out through the narrative and many others who've read both versions have agreed. Just shows you how important that POV decision is!

  8. I began in first person because that's what seems to come most naturally to me, but after several chapters I decided it would be better in third person. So went back and changed it...