It’s All a Matter of Point of View

What is your comfort zone?

I notice the trend of YA novels these days is to write in the 1st person – ie using ‘I’. This sets up an intimacy with your reader as if you are talking only to them.

Kate Grenville says, ‘First person can give a force, an immediacy, an idiosyncratic and personal energy to a piece of writing.’

The first time I used 1st person was in A Ghost in My Suitcase. I found it easier to write  – the ideas, the words seemed to flow more freely.

In all my previous novels I have used 3rd person subjective – ie using ‘he’ or ‘she’ from the point of view of the main character. You have to keep asking yourself, Would s/he know this? or How would she know this?

3rd person omniscient is when the narrator has a God-like view of everything. The author is in the head of each character and can know things even the characters don’t know. As a children’s author, I avoid 3rd person omniscient. I think it is important, when writing for young people, that the reader identifies with the main character. This pov can feel distant.

So, how do you decide on Point of View?

I think it all depends on the feeling you want to give to the novel. As I work on the final copy-edit for Little Paradise, I wonder if using the 1st person would have made it a better book.

It’s way too late to change that now so I guess I will never know.

2 thoughts on “It’s All a Matter of Point of View

  1. I really enjoy chosing point of view. I ussually try a few different POV’s before I decide. Stephanie Meyer has a couple of unpublished peices on her blog from different POV’s from different characters. It is a great discussion thread though. My novel in progress is written in first person present tense, it allows a large area of grey that omnisant narration doesn’t. The charatcer could be lying. We don’t know if their voice is telling the truth. But it is hard to revel information about thing ouside that charaters knowledge, I have been experimenting a bit with shifting POV lately.

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