Monday, October 25, 2010

To Use "I" or "He" - Now That is the Question...

Before I start on my little blog topic today, I have to laugh about last week's post. I didn't think my comment about dating three guys with the same name would be a topic of conversation!! I had more comments for that post than I have for any other post since I started this. What I said was absolutely true. I dated a Charlie, Chuck and another Charlie (that his friends called Chief because he was Native American - it was the 80s people, not very PC I know!!). I married one of the Charlies...

Okay, now on to the topic at hand; Which type of voice to use when writing a story??

We'll start with First Person POV. Now I think that as a reader, this is one of the harder POVs to get into. I am one of those people who NEEDS to know what is going on. Only seeing the story in one person's point of view leaves me wanting more...what was that guy thinking when she told him that?? I NEED TO KNOW.

Really, I think that it is a character flaw, this need that I have. The irony of me not really liking First Person POV is that some of my recent favorite books were written that way. Not gonna lie here...I am a Twidork!! And to read four books told completely from a teenage, love sick girl I thought would NEVER be for me (well, 3 and a half books because Breaking Dawn had that bizarre Jacob POV in the middle). And then came The Hunger Games. Again First Person AND present tense (don't get me started on that!!).

I think that the reason that I fell into these books is because they were easy for me to identify with the main characters. Having been a teenage girl once in my life, I could understand them a little more. But what if Twilight had been Midnight Sun first?? Or what if The Hunger Game had been told from Peta's POV?? Would I have been able to immerse myself in the same way?? I just don't know.

I will just skip right over second person, because I'm not planning on a "Make Your Own Adventure" story or an instruction manual...though I would love to read a Black Dagger Brotherhood Make Your Own Adventure story!! I would totally pick going with Z down to the gym...turn to page 73!! Okay, sorry got distracted!! But just imagine the fun in that book!!

On to Third Person even if you choose to go with this one you'll have to make another choice. Is it Third Person Limited POV (meaning the POV changes from character to character but the reader only gets what is going on from one specific character) or do you want to go with Third Person Omniscient (one "narrator" telling the story so that you can know what everyone is thinking). Decisions...decisions...

Right now, I am in the editing stage of my next book and am dealing with this issue. When I wrote it, I choose Third Person Limited POV. I try to keep POV changes to a minimum because I know as a reader, watching the tennis match of competing POVs can get to be a little much. So, I have three main characters and the majority of the story is told with their POV. BUT...I also had 3 other POVs lightly sprinkled (I'm sure that my editor would disagree!! HAHA!) throughout the story. It was a major thing that my editor and I have been discussing.

Her suggestion was to maybe convert the whole thing over to omniscent, that way all those little pieces of information that the extra 3 characters' POV provided could still be included. AND I tried to work it that way...honestly! But here is the problem that I encountered...When I write, I hear the voices in my head telling me what they want to say, and by changing to omniscent I lost my characters' voices.

I was really struggling with this issue as I edited. While I agreed with my editor (and really I thought that I did a better job when I first wrote it...hahaha!) that it was too much, I didn't want to lose everyone. Then I started to read a new book by a very popular author and there were 7 POV changes in the first 5 chapters!! Now, I am nowhere near the writer that this author is, but seeing that gave me the confidence to make sure the things that I ABSOLUTELY want in the story are there. Don't worry...I don't have 7 different POV changes!!

After all this, I'm finding books that actually have switching First Person POVs (As mentioned earlier with Breaking Dawn) and some that actually have both First Person AND Third Person mixed in?? My head is spinning. As you can see, I have enough trouble trying to pick one!

Oh, and my new book that I'm working on...First Person!! HAHAHA!!

1 comment:

  1. Imagine my large grin when I started reading your post about POV. :D You really ARE putting a lot of thought to this! In the end, you have to decide what's best for YOUR story and that's what you do. Was that helpful? Not at all? Sorry. ;)