1. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    When reading, do you notice the POV?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Elgaisma, Jan 19, 2011.

    I guess I don't lol - I have had to go back over my bookshelf to work out what POV every book is in. Apparently most of my favouries are first person.

    I have been contemplating a second person narrative think it could potentially suit one of my characters.

    Reading over a list of second person narratives discovered I have read most of them and never noticed.

    Iain Banks, Rumer Godden, Lewis Grassic Gibbon (I have read that many times and done it for English Literature so actually analysed it lol), Nathaniel Hawthorne and some of my other favourite authors have written at least chapters or sections of books I have read in second person.

    To be honest think I might have known Sunset Song was written that way my memory sparked when I read it on the list - the others surprised me. Off to dig out the ones I have on the shelf lol

    I have come to the conclusion that when the author picks the right voice for the story it doesn't interfere and forms part of it so the reader doesnt notice. It is when that voice is wrong it stands out. My job as an author is to make it so it does not becomes noticeable.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I notice the POV, but I really don't care what POV a story is written in so long as it is done well. I read plenty of both third and first person POVs. I've read second person stories that I thought were done well, though it seems to me second person is a harder POV to do well than the other two.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I notice pretty much right away - I don't think about it too deeply, but it's pretty blatant to me what it is if all the sentences have "I" in or whatever. I never *think* about it, though, unless the author really messes it up somewhere along the way.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh I agree about second person being harder to do I have been playng with it all afternoon never tried writing it before.

    However do think it is starting work - another thread gave me the idea about the creepy diary entry in second person - I am still not sure if the you is the reader though think it might be himself or god.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I notice but in the end it doesnt makes me chose one book over another. But if i would choose i tink i get e better feeling if third person, I cant tell why that is, i have read many books i liked in first p, and when i started to write myself i always wrote in first person, right now i write in third person, but i have never even sen a book in second person, do you mean they exist?? :eek:
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i only notice it if it doesn't work for some reason... such as with excessive head-hopping, or describing things that couldn't be seen from the narrator's pov...

    one glaring example was describing a moving vehicle the narrator is driving, as if seen from outside and above it, which of course, he couldn't...
     
  7. Torkyn
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    Torkyn Member

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    I'm with everyone else. I could tell you what the POV is if I thought about it but I never give it much stock. All I care about is that the story is well written and easy to read.
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I only notice pov if something is done poorly. On the first read, at least. This is why it's so important, imo, to re-read. Bad things are noticeably on first read, but good things usually aren't and shouldn't be, necessarily. The trick is to go back again and figure out how something like pov just melted into the background and let the story take center stage.
     
  9. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    My favorite books have been in third person, but I've also read good ones in 1st person. The only way I can really get into 1st person is if it's present tense.

    I guess I notice the pov, but most of the time it doesn't interfere with immersion much.
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    My problem with first person is that if you don't like the MC, you probably won't like the story. It's a weakness that pov has, and is probably why a lot of people don't care that much for it. While in third person, even if you don't like the MC, you can usually get by if the rest of the story is good and the other characters are interesting.
     
  11. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Jamaica Kindcaid's "A Small Place" is written entirely in second-person, and it's fascinating. It's a creative essay, but its use of the second-person is powerful and truly affects the reader.
     
  12. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    What's 2nd person?
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    When the narrator is the reader. 'You will come into the room, and then you will sit down and enjoy your cup of tea.'

    I have cheated slightly the you in my new work is God so I think that makes it first person.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't say the narrator is the reader in second person point of view. The narrator is addressing the reader, or in some cases another character in the story, and telling the story from the point of view of the person being addressed. But the narrator remains distinct, at least in the second person POV stories I've read.

    Here is a second person story by science fiction legend Theodore Sturgeon, which has been reprinted at Strange Horizons. The link is safe and the magazine has the full story online. It is from 1959:

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2009/20090413/lostsea-f.shtml
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK I get - that is how the POV is different.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Although, I wonder if you could do it where the narrator is also the reader. Someone writing to themselves. I don't see any reason why not, and I think that's what you were getting at in the diary thread. A guy slightly unhinged, writing to himself in second person POV. That would work too, in my view. So I guess the more accurate thing to say is that the narrator and the reader might be the same person, but they don't have to be.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am thinking as I go on with the diary that is what will happen he starts out talking to God, but I was thinking of making it clear later he thinks he is God, not sure how it will work exactly yet and at 600 word segments it will take awhile to get there - I think once he gets to the Island one is going to be king so the other makes himself high priest and go from there.

    It will borderline first/second person POV all the way through I think.
     
  18. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like a time travel adventure - the narrator is addressing their earlier self, describing what they will do.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are so banned from trying to give me ideas lol Hmm I am already writing a time travel story :)

    Its your fault I am writing the mad Reverend quite as mad as he is.
     
  20. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I notice if I feel like it is drifting away from whatever POV I thought it was. Sometimes even the most respected authors get away with violating some of the rules of specific POV.
     
  21. Xeniyah
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    Xeniyah Member

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    In general (to go back to your initial question) I really prefer a first person point of view as it drags me in and makes me a part of the story. It makes stories so much more interesting for me. I do agree with a statement made earlier... if you hate the MC, it is really hard to like the story.

    Second person point of view is a lot harder to write... but if done the right way it can be interesting to read :)
     
  22. impure
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    impure Member

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    Don't really notice the POV, since I'm used to third person.
    First person is OK if it's descriptive.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    second person is the narrator speaking directly to the reader... which makes it a 'breaking the fourth wall' narrative...

    first person could be the narrator speaking to him/herself, as in a diary...
     

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