September 17, 2012

A Matter of Point of View

Last Thursday, the wonderfully and impressively organized Deanna Barnhart, your GUTGAA mastermind, held a Twitter Q+A for querying writers. It went smashingly. I think we even trended!

However, something I noticed was that some writers seemed a little fixated on the question of point of view. It's true that many young adult books are told in 1st person point of view. I've heard that it's because it helps put the reader more firmly in the narrator's shoes, and that teens relate better to it.

But I like to think it's a matter of personal preference. Like everything else in publishing, it's subjective. (And there are tons of fantastic YA books written in 3rd person out there.)

I have two seventeen-year-old nieces, both of whom are avid readers. When questioned about which pov they prefer, they both said they don't care and, frankly, barely even notice it. What matters is whether the story and the characters grab them, and that can be done regardless of which pov the author chooses.

Now, sometimes, it's true that a book or a character's voice just isn't working in a certain point of view. And when that realization hits, it can be a major motivational and creative vortex.

The manuscript I was working on last year began in 3rd person. A couple chapters in, I realized something just wasn't right. I considered changing the point of view, but I had never actually written in 1st person before, and it seemed a daunting challenge. However, going with my gut turned out to be the right decision because that was the book with which I signed my agent. Even so, I still prefer writing in 3rd and that's the pov my WIP is in. Agents won't care either way so long as it works for the book.

If you need further proof, my fabulous CP Mindee has sold two book series, one written in 1st person and the other in 3rd. Both are equally amazing.

There are so many things to think about when writing a book--deadlines (professional or otherwise), plot twists, character arcs, pacing and conflict. Point of view is just a tiny part of the process and not something that should be giving you unnecessary stress.

So what do you guys think? What's your preference?


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