I thought I would talk a little about viewpoint in today’s post. I know it’s a topic that’s frequently discussed across the internet, but I wanted to share my own experiences with viewpoints with you all. Who knows, one of you might find it helpful!
First, a list of pros and cons:
- Easy to get inside the character’s head from the start.
- Easy to develop a distinctive voice, as the character ‘talks’ to the reader.
- More immediate and personal.
- Very limited in its scope (difficult to follow more than one character).
- The writer’s voice can become lost amongst the character’s thoughts.
- Can often feel ‘reflective’ and difficult to speculate on future events.
- No danger – the character survives or they would not be telling the story.
- Perfect vehicle for putting across the author/writer’s voice.
- Preferred style for many works of fiction. Readers sometimes put off by 1st person.
- Great for covering a wide-ranging, epic story as multiple characters can be used as viewpoints.
- Can become as personal as 1st person if the writing is good (close 3rd person).
- Can be more difficult to use for inexperienced writers.
- Requires hard work and solid writing to get readers connecting to characters.
- Can become too ‘loose’ and detached if the writer isn’t careful.
I personally prefer the use of third person when writing. I tend to write in a close-ish third person as I enjoy being inside the character’s head as much as possible. Sometimes, I’ll take a wider view of the world for the story’s purposes, but never for very long. I have written a couple of stories in first person and I remember particularly enjoying writing one of them. Overall, though, I found it restrictive for the sort of writing that I like to do. Maybe my style is just not suited to first person. Maybe I just need to learn a few more tricks.
It’s open to the floor now. What do you think?
- Writer Poll: 1st Person POV Vs. 3rd (kaitnolan.com)
- Introducing the viewpoint character in 1st person (litendeavor.wordpress.com)
- First Person (hopeofglory.typepad.com)
- Narrators & Characters – or Who’s Telling This Story, Anyway? (kbnelson.wordpress.com)