Monday, May 11, 2009

A Bold Look at Point of View

Tami and I have recently started new WIPs and have been discussing the challenges of changing our writing from first person, to third.

Under My Skin, my first book, was originally told in third – then changed to first during a major edit. The process deepened my understanding of my main character - through literal “I”’s. I loved how into-Eyrn’s-head I could get with first, how intimate the tone could be – if the occasion called for it. Frankly, I didn’t think I’d ever go back to third person narrative. I was done with all that he said/she said and had embraced the illogical, emotional world of "I".

Then this WIP started to kick my ass from here to Vulcan (Vulcan, Alberta, that is, it’s an actual town. They even got a special screening of the new Star Trek movie. Read all about it) and I boldly went where I had gone before and failed – third person.

Now I’m in the land of limited omniscience and hopping into the heads of two main characters. It's powerful – I can take huge steps back and set the scene and then zoom into a character’s thoughts. I’m learning the mechanics, the dos-and-don’ts of third person by skimming though all the great YA titles on my shelf told in this POV and taking mental notes. I’m likely still making a ton of errors, but this is a first draft - so just finishing the novel is a major priority.

Anyone have suggestions for third person? Some real no-no’s to share or titles Tami and I should be reading? And, more importanly, have you seen Star Trek yet???


Tami Klockau said...

Hey love love this post! It was going to be my topic for this coming Friday in fact! lol. 3rd is still kicking my butt, and I hope to figure it out at some point!

Going to see Star Trek this morning with my work. They paid for all of us to have a "dark" screening so it should be fun (even though I have no real desire to see it) LOL

Tina said...

I don't mind reading 3rd person. But I really enjoy first person. I find I get know the characters more. So far, I've felt stronger connections with 1st.

Tami Klockau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tami Klockau said...

Sorry, the deleted comment above was me. I screwed up. :)

Now, what I was trying to say was:

It's funny Tina. I am the same way, with writing and reading books. Before reading a lot of YA, I think that I didn't mind what the POV was. With YA, I find that I connect better with 1st.

That being said, now having written a few books in 1st and now trying to write 3rd, some stories only work one way or the other. The book I'm working on edits, Lost and Found, could only be told one way, 1st person. The book I'm currently writing, from everyone who has read the synopsis, they believe it lends itself to 3rd person. I guess we'll see if I can pull it off. :)

Steph said...

I always write in first person, and I think that's because I love books in first person.
It's funny, because I just got back my manuscript from a publisher, and they were very lovely and gave me feedback and mentioned that it's hard to sometimes discern who's talking because there are multiple narrators (four. I know. Shoot me).
I was considering rewriting in third person, but I like how personal first person is.
Great post :-)


Tracy Belsher said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Four narrators - whew! So each one gets a chapter? Or segments of a chapter. That would be complex, but doable.

I'm off to see Star Trek tonight - should be a blast...or at least a tractor beam of a good time.

Tracy Belsher said...

Okay, Star Trek was unbelievable - the acting, the characters...Kirk kicking butt. FUN!