Thursday, April 21, 2011

POV musings

Seems like there's been a lot of talk about POV lately, though it probably just feels that way to me since I've been worrying over it lately.

There are lots of books I like very much that are in third person-- Harry Potter, anything by Stephen King; but the books that make me feel, that have me saying "You've GOT to read this!" are almost always in first person: Lamb's I Know This Much is True; Stewart's The Myth of You and Me; Foer's Everything is Illuminated; Memoirs of a Geisha; and several young adult books that have sucked me right in. First person is more personal; we're right in their brain, feeling it with them, and, when it's done well, there's an empathy with the protagonist that, for me, is tougher to acquire in third person.

Then there's verb tense, and while that is not the same animal as POV, it directly affects it for sure. I'm not a fan of present tense. It's disconcerting at first, and though I do acclimate as a book goes on (if it's good enough to keep me reading, see Hunger Games), it takes longer. Something about past tense gives an even more intimate look into things, because third or first person, you're seeing what they felt about what happened-- hindsight, baby.

So my ideal book to read is first person, past tense from a writer that knows how to wield a metaphor.

Meanwhile, I'm writing third person past and second guessing myself. First person feels more natural to me, but I didn't think it was the right voice for my WIP... though now I don't know.

Darn you, Doubt.

I guess this is what rewrites are for?

3 comments:

  1. I think I say "You've GOT to read this" equally for 3rd and 1st. A close 3rd person is... really the same thing, anyway. And then I can switch POVs. I'm finding myself writing 3rd more and more.

    For instance, last night I started writing some new blah story. 3rd.

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  2. A new blah novel or a new blah short story?

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  3. I have no idea. It was just from an image I'd had in my head forever. I stopped liking the direction it was taking, and so I stopped.

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