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Which POV do you connect/enjoy more?

Poll closed May 23, 2011.
  1. I enjoy first person POV more in a book.

    8 vote(s)
    21.6%
  2. I enjoy third person POV more in a book.

    15 vote(s)
    40.5%
  3. I enjoy both POVs equally, just in separate books.

    14 vote(s)
    37.8%
  4. I enjoy a mix of both first and third POV in the same book.

    2 vote(s)
    5.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    What Do You Connect With More?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lilix morgan, May 9, 2011.

    Please read this post in conjunction with the poll before you vote.

    I was reading over a blog the other day between spurts of writing (you know, to keep my sanity in check and not overload my brain) when one of the posts mentioned how they enjoy reading from a certain perspective than another, meaning third over first, or first over third. I pretty much shook it off, thinking that if a story was good, I ended up reading it regardless of the POV.

    But when I got home and went through my books, curiosity getting the better of me I suppose, I noticed about 80% of my books are first person POVs. Eighty percent. The only few books I found on my closest shelves that I enjoy reading that came in third person view were Harry Potter, naturally, the Artemis Fowl series, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. It made me wonder; do we relate, enjoy, dive into, or connect more with a book written in a first person format? Or do we enjoy third person equally, if not more?
     
  2. Demented_Thoughts
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    Demented_Thoughts Member

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    Good Thread :)

    I personally like 1st and 3rd POVs when reading books or even writing. I find that 2nd person POV is rather odd to me more like fantasy i think. Most my books are in 1st person POV aswell and i may have about 2-3 books in 3rd person POV. But i personally like to read what i like to write and that's 1st and 3rd POV :).

    I would also have to say i enjoy the two equally :)
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I chose the closest option, but really it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference to me. If the book is good, it's good. I don't care what the POV is.
     
  4. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Well for me, I find it very easy to connect with a book written in first person. It's like delving into a friend's secret diary :) It brings an immediacy - if you know what I mean - that's like a second skin; second nature to me a journal writer.

    But Third person is great too. It lets me get to see more than just one given point of view and lets me go to different places at diverse times other than the ones the main character is in at a specific moment in the story.
     
  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I definitely have loved books written in first person, I seem to subconsciously favor third person, considering what's on my shelf. I also prefer writing third person because I can have a larger cast of characters. In first person you can only properly focus on one person. Of course you can write from different people's point of view in first person as well, but more often than not, the end result is amateurish.
     
  6. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Thank you very much. I'm definitely trying to get a feel for what people gravitate towards more since I noticed I have my own personal niche of reading favorites, if you get what I mean.


    If you could have added an option to the poll, what would it have been? I'm curious as to what you would have done differently now. o__o


    I agree completely! One of my favorite series is the Bartimaeus Trilogy, give it a read sometime if you're into fantasy with magic and djinni. Anyway, the series jumps from third person with the alleged MC (Nathaniel), then to first person with whom I think stole the whole series (Bartimaeus). While I understood and connected with Nathaniel and his story from third person POV, I felt I much more grew into Bartimaeus and his first person POV. To me, it reminded me of a friend who would live by no rules and constantly be hanging by edge of their seat with adventure. But then I read Harry Potter, and I couldn't imagine it another way. To read Harry in a first person POV to me would have ruined it completely.

    This, is what I was assuming earlier when I was dwelling on the subject. I mean, the same goes for someone who writes multiple third person views if it's done improperly. I guess it just goes to say that as long as it's written well and you can tell the difference between one person and another with clarity it wouldn't be bad? I'm not completely sure of that, but I somewhat believe it. It's probably easier to juggle five people in third person than five people in first.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    My option would have been: "It doesn't matter to me at all, so long as it is done well."

    :)
     
  8. Demented_Thoughts
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    Demented_Thoughts Member

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    How about the ones that use both 1st and 3rd in the same story... i find them to be just as good as one written in just either 1st or 3rd
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    That's the last option in the poll.
     
  10. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Empathetic writing is what does it. And empathetic writing can be found in either POVs.
     
  11. eMotive-
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    eMotive- Member

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    I prefer third person POVs as it allows more depth, IMO, for the reader to contemplate the personality of characters. I think it's more fun to decide for yourself on the traits of a character than for that character himself to make it known what he's like.
     
  12. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just went and did this too purely out of curiosity. I don't own many of the books I bought pre-2009 anymore -- with the exception of Palahniuk, whose books I haven't re-read since 2007/2008 -- but results for the books I've read (not including non-fiction and anthologies) were: 59% in 1st person, 36% in third person and 5% used both first and third person. Remove Palaniuk and first person drops down to 31%. However, 39% of the books written in first person changed POV multiple times - and these happen to be among my favourite books. All eBooks (not included in the above) I've bought have been written in first person with only one exception. Only 2~3 of the books written in third person were on my favourites list despite the fact I've always preferred writing in third person. Books using first and third person are top of the list yet I've never had the urge to write like this.

    I used to have a preference for third person but now I don't really mind. However, when I read books written in first person I tend to go for work by male rather than female authors (or, at least, written with a more "masculine style") but this is just personal preference, not a rule. Although, in saying this, I did notice I've only one book by a female author on my bookshelf that wasn't written in first person and it's easily one of my top favourite books: Out by Natsuo Kirino.

    The next fiction book I plan to read is written in third person.
     
  13. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Here's a question - how about 3rd person limited v 3rd person omniscient?
    I find that I do like 1st person narratives, but when I write I tend to write in 3rd person - however, I write 3rd person limited. Hmmmm

    That begs another question - if I find I write in 3rd person limited and not omniscient, shouldn't I just change my POV to 1st person, since I'm only writing about the main character's thoughts and feelings, anyway? I just confused myself LOL
     
  14. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't read anything in third person omniscient - completely hate it.
     
  15. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Oh good, that made me feel better LOL.
     
  16. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    The third person point of view is clearly the best tool when the main focus of the world is epic, top-view, god-like... Like in fantasy, there are many characters and the world is immense. In order to portray the story properly you have to look at all aspects and characters equally. I guess the alternative to that is to tell a story from the eyes of multiple characters, or a specific character that acts as a 'storyteller'.
     
  17. Yandos
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    Yandos Member

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    The majority of books I have are third person but I feel both 1st and 3rd are just as effective in their own right. However a while back I read a book when travelling about a desolute world of science (gone wrong) that was both 1st and 3rd person and found this style amazing. The main story was 3rd person, with parts of 1st to blinker the reader from other events happening leading to a heighten feeling of suspence in the book. In the end when the answers were revealed, the revelation was quite the eye opener. I don't think the same story could have been told any other way. I've still yet to find another book with this style of writing (or the name of this one!?! any help would be nice.).

    So going back to may main point, all POV's have their place, it's just about preference.
     
  18. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yeah, weighing the strengths of first or third or even second, let's not forget it's been done before, is very important when an author is writing a story. It's apparent that one voice does work better over the other and vice versa ;)
     
  19. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't say that I like first or third person better, though I don't like it when the author mixes the two. I think I lean third person (limited or omniscient) but only because I've seen a lot more bad books written in first person than third. First person is a bit trickier than third, I think.
     
  20. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    I've never been able to stomach third person omniscient, not even on my wildest, fever-pitched days. There's something about that kind of story telling, where you're held so far back from it, that you feel like you have a pane of glass between yourself and the story.

    Once again thank you, to everyone, and anyone else who will answer after my post, for the answers you're providing. I understand that it does just go to show that having a certain POV for a specific story does make it or break it. I just wonder how one decides, "Oh, this is going to be written in first person," or, "Yeah! Third person limited, let's do that." I've read tons of books in both formats, and some with a mix of both in the same book, and all of them were great, but the thought of, "Well, why did they write it this way? Was it because they thought they'd connect to the audience more? Or for the plot?" continues to nag at me. I mean, imagine if Twilight had been written in third person. Would it have connected so much to all the teenage girls out there? And like I said before with Harry Potter- imagine if it had been told in first person? Would it have sounded more woe-is-me and less riveting?
     
  21. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Ah? Care to explain why?
     
  22. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Most books are written in a POV the writer is comfortable with, or the writer has some belief, usually cockamamie, that it's going to really matter. The truth is, there are few differences in effects from a well-written, empathetic, limited, close, first person narration and 'first person' (keeping in mind most people don't even realize there are a variety of first-person narration POVs as well, lol). The best can be translated back and forth between first and third and not lose much, mostly just a style difference, expectations/experiences of the reader, beliefs of the writer, etc, but the actual effect from the craft itself isn't much different.

    So, perhaps Twilight would have felt different, but for mostly external reasons, like that type of novel being expected to be first person these days, I would say, and probably Meyer getting away with a bit sloppier, ramblinger writing based on reader expectations.

    The mistake are the writers (or worse: reviewers) who think the 'issue' with their manuscript is just that the POV is wrong, and if they convert it to first person, THEN it will finally resonate. Nope. At best, you'll learn some things in the process, or find you're more comfortable writing/revising in the new POV, but the POV itself doesn't drastically change the actual craft and effects of a manuscript.

    The funny thing is that when things are written really well, POVs sort of meld into the background (as they should). I literally had a third person, present tense story that a workshop full of writers argued about whether it was first person or not, and what tense it was in. Finally (I wasn't allowed to speak), after several minutes someone sheepishly raise his hand and pointed out, in the manuscript right in front of people that nobody was actually referring to, that it was in fact third person. Then the argument was 'well, it at least felt like first person' whatever stupid thing that means, before the professor thankfully pointed out how the argument was idiotic and made us move on.

    The point being, it obviously doesn't matter that much, though once people confirmed it was in fact third-person, present-tense, they insisted on talking about how that's not an acceptable POV, despite the fact it was so successful to tell the story that several people swore it was first person, lol.

    POV talk is usually silly and has far less bearing on the actual successful crafting of a story as people like to think. And using a POV that isn't in favor is suddenly excused, or not even noticed, if you do it well. So...
     
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  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if, by 'book' you meant 'novel' then my vote for 'third' stands... but if you included non-fiction and fiction in the term 'book' then i'd have to change it to the third option...
     
  24. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dislike the whole "Godlike" perspective. When I read I like to learn about the world and the other characters at the same rate the main character is discovering these things out. I've noticed lines like, "What he/she didn't know was..." and "At the time he/she didn't notice..." tend to come up more often in third person omniscient (although sometimes in first person when written in past tense - I personally prefer present tense) and I find these types of lines tend to ruin the story for me. But that's only one example, anything that gives us a hint as to something the character doesn't already know completely wrecks the flow for me. The only time I don't mind it is if the novel has multiple main characters, who're followed at different points in the story, and we learn something through their eyes that the first MC didn't know - this is okay as long as I'm not hearing about what both characters are thinking/feeling at the same time. It takes me out of the story because it feels unrealistic: I don't know what my friends are thinking if they won't open up -- except my best friend, she's obvious! -- so I don't think it's realistic that we know what all the characters are thinking/feeling in a scene.
     
  25. JMTweedie
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    JMTweedie Senior Member

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    I agree with this.
    3rd person omniscient is extremely irritating. Much prefer 3rd person limited, more realistic and emotive.

    I write in third person limited. Much prefer only one character's POV per scene.
     

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