First person, third person. This has been my question as of late. I always believed first person was the way to go. It creates more of a personal adventure for the reader. But then, when I originally sat down to write my manuscript, I found myself writing in third person. I’m not sure why, it just felt better. Though as I have posted before, once my book was completed, something didn’t feel quite finished (even if I was still proud of my overall work). I wondered if it was the Point of View. After much deliberation, I decided to rewrite my book in first person to compare. Hummmmmmm… after a few chapters, I’m not so sure.
There is definitely more to first and third person than I originally understood. Discovering these subtle differences helped me to realize why I don’t like the POV in some of the books I’ve read, and why I’ve loved it in others. Let’s start with a few definitions:
First Person POV is written from the speaker’s perspective. Pronouns used would be, “I, me, and my.”
Third Person POV is written from an outside perspective. Pronouns include, “he or she, they.”
Although first person is more intimate, it can also be limiting. It allows the reader’s vision from the character’s own eyes, as if he or she is that character. But the reader can only experience what that character experiences, and not anyone else around. Third person, the reader is not a character in the text, and therefore can see what happens from other perspectives and experiences. Although, this can sometimes feel distant, too far from the action.
But, there’s more. Third person delves into a few other options: omniscient and limited. Omniscient third person is when the narrator (and the reader) knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. Limited third person is when the narrator/reader only follows one of the characters at a time. I think the reason I initially wanted to write in first person was because I craved the intimacy it portrayed. However, in my story I have duel leading characters, and because of that, felt I needed to write in third person. The trick was taking care not to switch between characters in the same chapter. I knew I didn’t like narrating that reads the minds of all the characters at the same time… head-hopping. It turns out I was writing in third person limited without realizing it. So why does my story still feel askew? That’s when I learned about “Deep POV.”
From my understanding, Deep POV is getting as close to first person without being first person.
Beth Hill at The Editor’s Blog defines it like this, “What the first-person POV accomplishes with its I narration, deep POV accomplishes with third-person he or she narration. Thus readers see scenes through the viewpoint character, feel story events as that character does. What that character sees, the reader sees. What the character feels or thinks, the reader knows. Deep POV allows writers to do away with he thought, he felt, he wondered, he saw, all those phrases that intrude into the fiction, that unnecessarily encumber story.” http://theeditorsblog.net/2011/11/16/deep-pov-whats-so-deep-about-it/.
Corey D. Truax sums it up like this, “…holy macaroni folks, deep POV is just show, don’t tell dressed up in new words. While the showing/telling song and dance is geared toward many facets of writing, this deep POV concept is geared toward characters.” https://coreydtruax.com/2017/05/06/what-is-deep-pov-spoiler-its-show-dont-tell/.
That’s it – I need to rid my story of the telling of what my characters are thinking and doing and put in more showing. And even though I thought I was already doing that, I realized I had mistakenly included lots of “he thought,” and “she felt” without catching myself. Time to revamp. Time to return to my comfort zone of third person limited but mix in more intimate character behavior without the telling. One way or another, I’m getting this book to a quality level of complete.
I still have a lot to learn, yet LOVE every opportunity to do so. I guess this means it might take longer for me to finish my novel. But, as long as I create something solid I am proud of, then I don’t mind the time.
Writing Advice: Share Your Resources
Well, I’ve previously posted advice about writing from a different POV, as well as taking a moment in your story and suspending it to show and not tell. So, I must be a terrible listener of my own advice or proven I’m perfectly human. It is challenging work writing a book.
My advice for you today; check out the blogs I’ve listed below. Or better yet, find some new ones on the writing process and author’s crafts, and share them with me. I am open to learning new techniques… anything to improve. Let’s team up and help each other out.
Blog Posts to Visit: POV and Show, Don’t Tell
http://www.okclipart.com/Point-of-View-Clip-Art30pvukxsay/ (point of view)
https://www.slideshare.net/jcolacurcio/narrative-writing-4084424 (third person poster)
http://www.arbeckert.com/20151109/show-dont-tell-in-moderation/ (show everything tell nothing)
(time to improve)
Picture of the awesome tree perspective – my iPhone from the Redwoods! 🙂
Categories: Thoughts on writing...