Tittle Tuesday – First Person Point of View

POV stands for point of view, and there are several different ways that a writer can use this. Overall, there are four types. 

First Person – uses I, mine, my, me, and we.

I saw sunlight fall upon honeyed strands of hair and I was trapped, caught in a sticky feeling of lust, wonder, and awe as I kept watching the stranger.  

So many patterns, so many ways of writing!

Advantages

It tends to remove the temptation/slip of head hopping, a mistake much easier to make in third person point of view rather than first person (I’ll write more about head hopping later down the blog road since that’s a weakness many writers need to look out for). Using 1st POV is supposedly easier for writers (I tend to write 3rd POV most of the time, but as I say with all my “advice,” everyone is different). It’s also easier for some readers to be closer to the character when a book is written in 1st POV than another POV. 

Balances

A trend in YA (Young Adult) is that many of the books are written in 1st POV; following this can be good as it shows that the writer is aware of the current market, but if not followed, then it’s possible the story will stand out more to the agent/editor reading it.   

Challenges

The knowledge of the character is limited in 1st POV. If, for example, my MC is someone new to the vampire community, then they have no idea that paranormal beings are real. This means they’ll need to get the knowledge to survive from someone (or something), which in turn can lead to the slippery slope of information dumping (a long section of nothing but rules, laws, information being dumped onto the reader). 1st POV can also be a little challenging if you want to write from someone else’s perspective. 

Fun Things to Think about

The slant. How the main character sees things is likely to color their judgement, and the MC doesn’t have to be a reliable narrator. Another interesting way to write characters is to consider the language they would use. Writing 1st POV from a female teacher’s perspective would use different sentence structures and vocabulary than female doctors, dentists, artists, professional esports players, etc. would use. 

My little Mace exploring the top of my cabinet

There’s also advice saying not to use the tag “I thought” and italics when writing about a character’s thoughts in 1st POV, and I wonder if there is a link to fanfiction for this style choice. Having read fanfiction since the late 1990s, I see a lot of stories using italics for inner thoughts, and since reading/writing fanfiction has only recently been seen as a positive thing (though there are people who still dislike the practice), then I wonder if this style advice comes from not wanting to look like fanfiction. (Simply a thought – I have no research or anything to back that up with). 

What do you think about writing/reading in first person point of view? Is it your go-to or something you stay away from? 

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