The View on Point of View


I enjoy submitting. It appeals to my left brain. I’m not crazy about the researching of markets – not because it isn’t fun or interesting, because it is – it’s just too time consuming. I can spend an entire day researching markets and come up with only two markets. And that was before this latest trend. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about point of view.

Most stories are written in third person (limited or omniscient) or first person. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I’ve always preferred third person for the lazy reason that it’s much less work for the writer. Unfortunately, my characters seem to prefer first person because more of my stories work in first than in third. I even had a novel that refused to be told in third. My young protagonist wasn’t having it. It doubled my work, my thinking, my planning. I did it but I didn’t like it. I did it because the story is what it is, and we don’t choose it. We can’t merely say I’m only going to write in 3rd person from now on. What will happen is you won’t write, period. Your creative well will dry up.

Imagine my frustration when I discovered the last three times I researched markets, that suddenly there’s a new barrier to publication for writers. (Like we needed another one?) I encountered market after market that said NO FIRST PERSON stories. I accepted it the first time, the second time even, but by the third time I was looking up Oliver Stone online because a conspiracy was definitely afoot. Where had this sudden aversion to first person come from and how could we get rid of it?

While I understand first person can have limitations, it also has incredible benefits. And some stories just need the intimacy that first person allows. Third person puts a distance between the reader and the protagonist. First person, thanks to the pronoun “I”, allows the reader to place himself in the shoes of the detective or a young vampire or an aging actress following him or her in the adventures the reader cannot or dare not go on in their own life.

I’m saddened by the sudden blocking of first person stories. No doubt because so many of my characters like to tell their stories using this POV but also because as a reader I love first person stories. I can’t imagine an anthology in which I experience only third person. It’d be a sad experience for me.

As a writer, I have found my markets cut down significantly by this change. I’m hoping it’s a phase and will pass as quickly as it appeared.

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3 Comments

Filed under The Life, Writing

3 responses to “The View on Point of View

  1. I believe that it definately depends on the texts, some do work better in first peron and others work better in third.

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