Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Discussion: Point of View part 1

Before I start my discussion, I would like to point out the probably obvious.  I have messed with my blog template a lot over the last week.  Any thoughts on it?  Better?  Worse?  I am really bad at html so it's a miracle I even did what I did.  And now onto my discussion about POV:

This will mainly be about the differences between first person present and past tense.  Third person is its own monster.  

A lot of YA authors lately have taken to writing in first person point of view.  Honestly, the first time I read The Hunger Games, I was a little put-off by it.  It seemed awkward, strange.  It was so different from anything I was used to.  Because it wasn't just first person, but first person present.  We were literally in the main character's head as things were happening, hearing her thoughts.

This has become commonplace in the literary world.  After the first chapter of The Hunger Games, I got much more accustomed to reading in first person present.  What are some of the other big books that are guilty of this?  Here's a short list of a few of the offenders.

  • Divergent
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  • Red Queen
  • Magonia
  • An Ember in the Ashes
  • Penryn and the End of Days
  • Every Day
  • The Young Elites
  • Acid
  • Snow Like Ashes
  • Defiance
  • Matched
I like most of these books.  And I love... a couple of them.  But let's think.  Why is it that authors use first person present so often these days?  I'm guilty of it too.  I use first person present in my current WIP.  Why?  It's easier to get into the character's head.  Simple as that.  Now again, here is a list of books that use first person POV, but in the past tense.

  • The Darkest Minds
  • The Winner's Curse
  • The Kiss of Deception
  • Gates of Thread and Stone
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
  • Something Strange and Deadly
  • Incarnate
  • The Orphan Queen


A really quick glance at this list shows me one thing.  The second list are books that seem to be better, or more beautifully written (for the most part, that is).

Authors use present tense as a bit of a cop out to help them connect with their characters.  As a result, it can make the reader awkward while reading.  This doesn't mean that first person present is always bad.  Sometimes it's absolutely necessary.  But I generally prefer reading past tense.  Of course this doesn't mean that I will stop writing my WIP in present tense.

So here's my quick thoughts on third person vs. first person.  I honestly like them both.  I've seen books with third person that just wouldn't work with first and vice versa.  It really depends on the story being told and how the author wants to tell it.  It's nice to have third person omnipotent sometimes, because then we get to know basically everything about everyone and everything.  But sometimes it just doesn't work.  And sometimes it's nice to find things out as we go along.

What about you?  Any preferences or thoughts on POV?


  1. I am very much not into first person present, tbh. First person past obviously works for me sometimes, considering how obsessed with Jodi Meadows I am, but as I read more and more books I find that I like third person best. I literally have NO idea why. I just know that first present generally feels really awkward and uncomfortable for me to read, haha. Not always, but generally.

    1. I like it okay. But I agree, It's awkward. I've been thinking of changing my WIP to past tense. But that is a lot of work (especially since I'm on the revision process now). I usually get used to it after a while but at first it always seems weird.