Thursday, 23 July 2009


Most writing books and articles have something to say about point-of-view character(s). I have read plenty of "rules" and I have seen a great deal of rule breaking in the books I have read too. It is worth noting that in most "classics" from 19th century and before, character hopping was quite common, as was describing one scene from several characters points-of-view. Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" for example is horrendous for that. It doesn't bother me in all stories, but now because I suppose I have read so much about it, I do pick it up and I do prefer a neater structure. One POV per scene - I personally agree with that. Changing from character to character breaks reader's connection with that character. One might be reading a scene, empathising with Joe, and then voila suddenly its Jane's thoughts we are reading about. Not very effective. Yet some of the well-known writers do this. Nora Roberts / J. D. Robb for example does that in her books. In her "death" series as J. D. Robb, she moves from Eve to Roarke and also other characters. That doesn't bother me as much as Virginia Woolf did, because I suppose it's a series so I know these characters quite well. How do you decide what POV you want to use? How do I decide for my books? For most of my stories, it just comes naturally. For a few of them, I have used First Person and for most of them I use Third Person / Multiple Third Person. For the current fantasy novel, I am planning to use Third Person Omniscient - but I haven't used that before so I am not sure how that will work out. Sometimes I had to experiment. I might start out with a Third Person POV and change it to First, or the other way around. When I first started writing, I only liked Third Person, and had a clear disinterest in First or Second. But one of my women's fiction (the one that is 40% complete) started very naturally in the First Person, and I KNOW that is the right way to tell that story. The only one I really dislike is the Second Person. I don't even like to read short stories in it. There is something very irritating about someone telling you "you walked in the room" and all I want to say is "No, I bloody didn't." Never did like anyone telling me what to do anyway. :P What are your experiences using different types of POV? Do you prefer any particular ones? Why?


  1. Nice post. I have played with first person, but I honestly don't like it much. I don't even like reading it very often. I am lately attempting to improve my abilities with 3rd person, which is probably the best POV for me.

    I have awarded you something, which will be on my next post btw. :)

  2. Eric,

    I have read it in a few places that first time novelists find it easier to use First Person, because they can identify with it easily. I personally disagree with that because the first book I wrote was in third person, as was the second. I think with First Person, getting the voice right is essential because a reader is hearing directly from the character. So I would also say that I don't like to read it very often.

    If you enjoy Fantasy reading, then try Trudy Canavan's "Magician" series. I think she did First Person really well.

    And thank you, I look forward to checking out your post :)