Whenever I start a book, my hardest decision always involves Point of View.

I’ve done it all:

– Many POVs, first and third person (Dead Lovely, My Last Confession, The Devil’s Staircase, Bloody Women).

– One POV in first person, plus one POV in third (The Donor)

– One POV, all in third person (Hot Flush and The Shot)

– One POV, all first (Amelia O’Donohue is SO not a Virgin)

Im 38 pages into Cry, and so far it’s all one POV in third person.

Question, is – what next? Do I stay with her? That’s hard – I’d have to find original ways to get information in, and it might lessen the regular jolts that help deliver pace and energy.

On the other hand, some readers find changes of POV irritating, and I’d hate to piss people off!

What do you think? Does jolting from one perspective to another annoy you when you read?

How do you prefer to write?

What’s your point of view?


~ by helenfitzgerald on November 4, 2011.

2 Responses to “WHAT???S YOUR POINT OF VIEW?”

  1. I think it depends on the material. However, most of the time I recommend a close third (not a formal third). A close third gives the intimacy of first person and the "professionalism" of third–a win-win all the way, imo. And, changing a formal third to a close third totally transforms a book. It’s simple–once the pov character’s name is on the page, then for most of the rest of the time simply use personal pronouns and not the name. Instantly, it "feels" like first person and without the baggage of first.One thing I do sometimes, is when using multiple povs, I’ll use a formal third for the antagonist’s pov and a close third for the protagonist’s. That creates a physic distance for the antagonist and an intimacy for the protagonist.But, mostly, I think the material determines this. My litmus test is if I can substitute he/she/name for I, and it doesn’t affect the story, then it probably should be in third.And, I’d never use second person, especially for a novel! Wearies quickly. There are probably others, but the only second person novel I can recall that succeeded was Jay McEnnery’s (sp?) "Bright Lights, Big City." Works in shorter work sometimes but rarely in a novel.What REALLY bothers me, Helen, is a present-tense novel! A plague on ’em!


  2. As I’m getting more experienced I’m sticking with close third – def the best, I think. Sometimes do action in present tense in between but maybe this is a no-go along with italics… Things go in and out of fashion, like voiceover in film/tv. Italics and tags are out of vogue at the moment I believe. Along with exclamation marks!


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