Monday, February 16, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #313 -- Preferred POV

In which, if any, point of view do you prefer to write? Why?

It's no secret that I write most of my stories in either first-person or third-person limited. Of those, I tend to write third-person limited most frequently. However, a lot of that comes from the preferences of my publishers.

If it were up to me, I'd write more from the first person, because I always found that to be the most fun. Why? Well, I think it stems from reading a lot of first-person stuff as I was forming my core reading habits as a young reader. I still feel like first person writing puts me inside the story more effectively.

The danger of first-person though, is that I have to choose the right character in which to "reside." And that's not always the main character. Sherlock Holmes stories would be far less enjoyable and poignant told from Holmes' head. In that case, the reader needs to see how Holmes works from the outside. In pulp detective tales, the reader needs to be in the head of the detective, who is often not anywhere near a Holmes-type deducer. The reader needs to feel the failure and confusing red herrings as the private dick experiences them.

Yes, I know writers can do all this from the third-person limited too, but even that small bit of distant between the two can be just enough (sometimes) to over-limit the reader's identification with the protagonist.

At least those are my thoughts on the matter. Your brain may take you in other directions.