1. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Member

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    Point of View

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lyssa, May 26, 2009.

    So, I was wondering about POV.

    Just...about it.

    How do you usually write? I, personally like 1st person, and usually write that way. 3rd person is ok but kind of confuses me sometimes.

    What do you like reading? Mines the same. I like 1st person better....but 3rd is ok. I've only read one book in 2nd person ever, and it was kind of weird. But I liked it because I felt more into the story.
     
  2. A.J.Crowley
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    A.J.Crowley Senior Member

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    Third person. I find it the most flexible POV, It’s really good for describing events, actions and getting a large amount of information across quickly and effectively, then you can segue into first person to better show what you character is thinking or feeling with a simple “such and such thought”.
     
  3. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    My first couple of books that I read were first person and I loved that. But then I was almost forced to read third person and it wasn't as bad as I thought.

    Either is ok by me but if the writer is really good, I'd prefer first person because I like to know how the protagonist is feeling and thinking. I do not, however, like it when different chapters switch between POV or characters etc. It's just not on.
     
  4. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I write in a third person voice that is very close to the main character. In his head even. The way I would describe it is, while it is a third party voice, it's more like the main characters guardian angel/best friend telling the story, rather than an impartial God.
     
  5. Anir
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    Anir Senior Member

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    Wasn't there already a thread along these lines? :confused:


    Anyway, I prefer writing in third person because it makes me feel all-powerful. mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha . . . eheh.


    More than that, though, the fact that I can be so much more descriptive of the enviroment and the people around the character with third person than with first person. It's also easier to switch between POVs. I like first person though, usually when I want the person to see the world through the character's eyes rather than through the eyes of an observer. Admittedly, the third person narrator is usually closer to the MC than the other characters.
     
  6. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    Yes I think I posted this exact same answer in another thread quite recently. Either that or I'm just having crazy deja vu!
     
  7. ObsessedImagination
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    ObsessedImagination Member

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    Hehehe....I write in 1st person for some reason. Though I prefer to read in the third person.

    Hmm...I'm a weird human being =D
     
  8. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Third person. I think I write better in first person, but first person is too limiting for what I like to write (I like stories that focus on multiple character story lines; First Person and that are tricky).
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Third person can be every bit as intimate as first person, and is far more flexible. It also doesn't suffer from the "I me I my" syndrome, although a decent writer can get around that.

    First person does work well for certain types of writing. Mystery novels often use it to limit the reader's perception and assumptions to what the investigator currently knows and believes. You could still do that with third person, but if you have reasons for locking yourself into the MC's viewpoint, there's no major reason to avoid first person.

    You could also consider using first person, but from the perspective of a character other than the MC. It's not a widely used approach now, but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used it for the Sherlock Holmes stories.

    Second person reeks for fiction, although it makes a certain amount of sense for "How to" books. Avoid it like the plague.

    Take a look at my blog entry, What's Your Point (of View)?
     
  10. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I usually use third person, but somehow when I started writing my novel, I just began in first and stuck with it. I wrote in journal like i was the main character, and it helped me develop her, and I liked using it. I tried rewriting the first chapter from 3rd person POV, and while it let me get into the other characters a bit better, I felt like first just fit this story best. I like reading either.
     
  11. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Member

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    Hm, I actually love books like that. If you've ever read a book by Jodi Picoult, most of her books are like that. They switch from character to character and each is writing in 1st person. I really like it because a lot of her books have a larger plot, and you almost need to switch characters to get the full story. But, I guess it depends on the reader and the book.





    Oh, and I'm sorry if there was another post about this....I guess I didn't really look.....sorry. :(
     
  12. Atma
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    Atma Member

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    I prefer third person(the limited one), like with sword of truth, harry potter, lady of hay, angels and demons. I think some people also call it omniscient limited, but all these different terms for something that is basically the same confuses me, so I'll just call it third person limited, and hope people understand :p
    I tend not to read 2nd or 1st person, or stories that are all omniscient. There are books in 1st and omniscient POVs that I like, but just saying in general, I tend to prefer the 3rd limited(or omniscient limited, not really sure what the difference is :p)

    I tend to write accordingly too. Or not "tend", I actually never write in 1st, or omniscient. I don't really think about it. It's never been one of those things that I think about prior to writing, like "ok, shall I do this story in 1st or 3rd?". I'm weird in the way that I create the characters and the world and then decide which character I'm telling the story from, and the story changes significantly depending on which one I choose.
     
  13. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    I have no idea what these terms mean, I just write. My first novel was written in first person, the second in third. It depends, for me, how the novel "sounds" and I am convinced that the first novel wouldn't work in third...
     
  14. Atma
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    Atma Member

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    Yes, I agree. I just write what I like and what I find works for me. It can be called whatever it wants.
     
  15. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    The terms, as I recall them from a book I read on Point of View:

    Third person omniscient:

    Third-person where the narrator can see all, knows all. He can go into anyone's mind and see what they're thinking, and even knows what's going to happen at the end of the story and can drop the reader clues... but won't necessarily tell all. Can actually "jump" back and forth from the mind of one character to the mind of another character.

    Third person limited:

    Third person narrator which follows one character's thinking (at least, one character at a time, may change characters during a chapter break) and doesn't see all, doesn't know all, and doesn't know the end of the story.

    I like the Third person limited, personally.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Third omniscient can often be characterised by such phrases as "Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him..." In reality, it's usually more subtle than that, but an omniscient viewpoint reveals details that would not be known to a single observer at that instant in time.

    A limited observer need not be an actual character, but should behave as a single observer at a moment in time. However, the observer can see things that are not normally visible to someone sitting on a park bench. Humans cannot read the thoughts of others, nor feel their sensations, but a third person limited observer can report what a single subject is thinking and feeling. The observer can identify with a single person and still be a third person limited observer.

    However, if the observer reads more than one person's thoughts, it's no longer a limited viewpoint. In fact, your POV has usually then become unanchored, and is popping between two or more POVs in an uncontrolled fashion. This is often referred to as "head-hopping."
     
  17. daturaonfire
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    daturaonfire Senior Member

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    By habit I write in first person, even when it's not right for the story. It just feels very natural, so it's hard to break. As far as reading, I'm not picky. Third person books seem to be richer to me, because they can jump around more and give a kind of depth that's almost impossible in exclusive first. I'm willing to read second person--I think it can be used to interesting effect. I don't think there's anything wrong with attempting a story in second for fun; just don't expect any publisher to touch it. :p
     
  18. TragicJuliet
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    TragicJuliet Senior Member

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    I usually use what ever POV seems to fit the story, my current project I tried in 3rd and it just didn't FEEL right. However, I do really hate 2nd person. It's like you have no control over what you do. "you see a black unicorn." NO. I see a Dragon you dumb book.
     
  19. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    The books I've read on writing, including one specifically on point of view, don't even address 2nd person. It's so rarely used, and so impractical for most fiction, it's not even considered worth discussing.

    I'm a constant reader. I must have read thousands of books. I can honestly say, I'm fairly certain I've never read a book written in second person, and I don't know of any examples of one such book.

    (Talking fiction of course. Not, as Cognito mentioned earlier, instruction books. Of course an instruction book's instructions are likely to be in second person. "Next, take your sixteenth-inch socket wrench and tighten firmly.")

    Edited in:

    As an afterthought, I have read books that combine first, second, and third person. Generally, these are "fairy tale" or "around the campfire" style stories, where there is a narrator, the bulk of the story is third person, but there are transitional moments where the narrator may use "I" and "you," but those moments take place outside the story.

    The example I'm thinking of is Stephen King's "Eye of the Dragon," which I'm currently reading. It's a fairy-tale style story. Most of it is third person, but it occasionally shifts into "I" and "you." (I'll make up an example, not actually from the story but the type of thing... twenty chapters of third person could be followed by, "Now, I'm going to skip ahead twenty years, but I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that the twenty years were turbulent ones...") Such interludes take you "out" of the story, which is often a bad thing, but can be done, as evidenced by "Eye of the Dragon." Of course, in this example, neither the "I" nor the "you" are actually characters in the story, but "you" are being drawn by "me," the narrator, into a story that is itself third person. Or could be first person, if the narrator was talking about himself. But in the case I was talking about, it was a third person story with a first person narrator talking to a second person "you."

    Edited in a second time:

    If I haven't bored you yet, just for fun, here's an actual sample of one of the "combined first and second person" moments from Stephen King's "Eye of the Dragon." It's toward the end of the story. Up to this point, we've been following the story of Prince Peter, falsely accused of murdering his father and imprisoned in a tall structure called "the Needle." He's been slowly making a rope to use to descend to safety.

    (In the middle of chapter 109, page 330)

    You might think this would have been good for Peter's escape plans, and it might have been if the Needle hadn't stood all alone in the Plaza. But if did, and here the wind blew its hardest... (there's more to this paragraph, but... skipping to the next paragraph: )

    And I must tell you now that Peter's rope was bound to break...

    So here you have it! First and second person within a story that's largely third person!
     
  20. TragicJuliet
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    TragicJuliet Senior Member

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    Wow Charlie you did some hard core investigating! I was mainly talking about those little kid adventure books. I was completely unaware that some combine the three so smoothly! I'll have to finally pick up that book of "Eye of the Dragon" and give it a go
     
  21. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've used second person for a short story once, and been pleased with the result. You can use the tense to create a sense of intimacy with the reader that you can't get with third or first, though I think it requires your world to immersive enough to really suspend disbelief - the hardest part is the fact that the reader is far more likely to say "I'd never do that," than "Bob would never do that." I don't think I could keep it up over a long distance, mind.

    I don't think I've got a preferred person to write in... in fact... quick count of everything I've done over the last couple of years has 6 in third, 7 in first, and 1 in second (yes, I know, I don't write fast). If something isn't working I'll try writing it from another point of view, to see if that helps.
     
  22. Lyssa
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    Lyssa Member

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    When I start brainstorming, I usually think if it as "I" because I try to feel the way my character does....and it usually just carries out from there into 1st person.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Consider doing your brainstorming from an observer perspective. Instead of "how does this make me feel?" try "how do I know what this person is feeling?"

    That puts you into a peoplewatching way of thinking, and also helps put you in a show mode rather than a tell mode.

    When you actually are peoplewatching, practice making up a story. What does the person's expression and body language tell you about their mood? How do they interact with or distance themselves from other people nearby? Did they just come from a fight with their SO? Are they mentally rehearsing for a job interview? Is that guy slouched in the corner seat of the subway car checking out the girl with the multicolored hair studying a textbook? Is she cramming for the exam this morning because she blew off studying last night foir a dorm party? Is the big guy with the baseball cap really a Transit cop watching for gropers and pickpockets?

    I believe that taking this approach helps you develop characters who aren't just clones of yourself in different skin suits.

    And it's inherently more aligned to a thrid poerson writing style.
     
  24. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Cog makes a good point about people watching being good for a 3rd person point of view. Personally I don't have difficulty watching people and still keeping to a first person p.o.v. but difficulties can arise if you have a hard time putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

    ~Lynn
     
  25. Lalis
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    Lalis New Member

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    I love reading both first and third - and I've never come across a book in second person. Must try it sometime.

    For writing, though, 1st person is a million times easier for me. Mostly because I can write freely, like I'm the one telling the story and I'm talking to a close friend. Third person is perfectly OK for reading, but most of the time it sounds too formal and artificial when I write it.
     

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