Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mainstream Anomaly: Writing First Person POV

Although in the literary world, books written in the first person point of view used to be an anomaly, they are now becoming quite common. This point of view means that the narrator speaks in the first person. In other words instead of "she saw the plane touch down on the ground," you would write "I saw the plane touch down on the ground."

For writers who regularly write in the third person point of view, this style can be cumbersome at first. Novels written using this viewpoint are different and are not always well received. The trick is to make a character so believable and so relatable that the reader feels that they are the character, instead of having the character talking to them.

This can be difficult at first and it is a good idea to start your foray into first person writing slowly. Try a short story first to get a better handle on how to effectively tell a story in this manner. It may take a few tries, but with practice you will be able to effectively write your novel in the first person point of view.

The biggest flaw of books that are written from this viewpoint is the fact that they tend to speak at the reader instead of to. You will need to avoid having your characters become preachy or pedantic. This is possible with practice. Genres well suited to this point of view include mysteries, adventures, and in some cases, romances. One writer in particular, Diana Gabaldon, revolutionized the romance industry with her first novel Outlander.

It was not only written in the first person, but also combined elements of a historical romance with a time-travel romance, something which had not been done before. The gamble paid off for Gabaldon and it may pay off for you as well.

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