I like to write in…
- First Person
- Second Person
- Third Person Limited
- Third Person Subjective Multiple Viewpoint
- Third Person Omniscient
- Mixed Points of View
So I am reading a book in first POV which is rare for me because usually I can’t stand first POV. My point is this. I prefer to read in 3rd limited and SMV and write in 3rd POV SMV.
What are your preferences?
I tend to prefer tales that are 3rd SMV and equally so, omniscient. The types of novels I enjoy the most tend to sprawl. I gravitate toward big casts of characters, and like to read all points of view rather than have things just evil-vs-good, where you have no perspective on the evil or good, depending on which side the tale is written from.
But, I’ll pick up anything written in any POV if it is enjoyable. I just usually end up in books like the above. Just about the only POV I can’t stand is second. Yeah, I never liked choose-your-own-adventure as a child.
Until recently, everything I have written has been in some form of third person. When I started the eighth installment of a series of short stories last fall, I wrote about a thousand words and found myself forced to admit that it was not working.
I scrapped the project and started over in first person, as an experiment to see what would happen. The story exploded, and I had a great deal of difficulty keeping up with my thoughts. I finished it, posted it, and got a comment that it was my best yet. I’ve just begun working on the next two stories, and both are being written in first POV.
I have no idea what this means. My long-standing preferences are similiar to yours, though I am more tolerant of first POV. Perhaps I have drunk the kool-aid, but I’m not about to change all the works-in-progress.
I really have no preference. I remember the first time I experienced first-person point of view in fiction when I was about twelve and hating it; it seemed so jarring after a childhood of third-person books. But fortunately one of the first books I read in first person was That Was Then, This is Now, and it blew me away. Some of my favourite books have been written in the first person - Catcher in the Rye, anything by Haruki Murakami - but at the same time I am partial to a slightly ironic third-person narrator (I was going to cite the narrator of Madame Bovary, but then remembered that starts in the first-person before any connection between the narrator and Charles is completely forgotten). First person narratives really rely on the personality of the narrator (even if horrible, like the narrator of Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground - I had a friend who, with his growling Welsh baritone, could quote the opening lines of that like no one else), but they’re great for keeping the reader in the dark about larger events without obvious artificiality - there’s nothing more frustrating in third-person narratives than when a lead character discovers something that is then withheld from the reader, or when certain key actions of a viewpoint character are omitted just to add to the tension, regardless of logic or consistency. First-person narratives are also great for the surreal, as if the narrator is compelling enough then it can ground otherwise bizarre elements. But with third person narratives, I love the way the character you like most can be left in a nasty situation for a chapter, so that you are dying to get to the next chapter to find out what happened to him.
Uh, yeah, like I said - no preference!
It varies with what I’m writing, but I tend to write in either first person with present tense or limited third person with past tense. But I also mix 'em. A major current WiP will be about 2/3 the former and 1/3 the latter, by the time I’m done with it.
There are novels I have read in all the POV’s listed which I have enjoyed, to which I have been indifferent, and which I have tossed after a few pages.
I have to say that the first person present tense is my least favorite. By much. Apologies to the prior poster. I know full well it predates the advent of POV video games, but its growing popularity in the other forums I frequent seems so much an artifact of these games. “I pick up the gun and add it my arsenal of weapons. I continue forward. Before me appears a doorway. Do I take it? I am conflicted….”
I sometimes re-read stuff that I have written and find that I have confusingly switched POV somewhere along the way.
When I read I don’t really care what POV is used, as long as it’s done well and fits the story. In my own writing I prefer third person with multiple viewpoints, mostly because the kind of stories I come up with tend to lend themselves to that sort of perspective.
In literary fiction, at least, I think one doesn’t want to automatically decide to stick to a single POV for style or purity’s sake. Shifting POV is too valuable a tool to be tossed aside lightly.
That said, If I had to choose, I think I like best to read straightforward 3rd person limited POV that somehow describes a world as it is perceived, in a sense as it is cognitively created by the selective attention of a character. We all see and think different realities and I love fiction that points that out imaginatively without resorting to narration or first person.
No real preference for my reading; if it’s good, I’ll follow any voice, and if it’s bad I’ll toss the book, no matter. I’d have said, perhaps a few years ago, that my writing drifts here and there among the alternatives, but lately just about everything I write is in the first person; as for time frame, I use past tense, but play with the time scale so that my narrator, while reporting on what has happened at any given point, does not necessarily know what will have happened five chapters ahead. That evolves naturally – inevitably – from more frequent and more serious journal keeping, which is always in the past tense, and is written knowing only as much as already has happened, without knowing what will have been reported next week.