Your POV on POV

I have a point-of-view issue. What’s your POV?

I’m rather new to writing, and my initial fledgling efforts were from a third person omniscient POV. In my debut novel With Good Behavior, I do a bit of “head hopping” from character to character. As a psychologist, I’m fascinated by the motivations of each perspective, so third person omniscient worked well for me.

Reader feedback is always varied and interesting. Some readers loved hearing from each character, believing it enriched the story. Other readers (like author Darcia Helle) commented that the constant change in POV was confusing at first, and suggested trying third person limited POV in which I represent one character’s perspective at a time (by section or chapter). Darcia shared how an agent asked her “Whose story is this?”–a tough question to answer when using third person omniscient POV.

I shared this feedback with my amazing Omnific Publishing editor Jessica Royer Ocken, and we discussed the pros and cons of omniscient vs. limited. We’re currently editing my first Young Adult novel, Against the Tide, and we decided to try third person limited. That created a LOT of work, I tell you! Whew. It’s been a challenge to view the scene from only one character’s perspective at times, but the advantage is a tighter, easier to follow story (I hope).

Last summer was my first attempt at first person POV for my short story Swim Recruit in the anthology Summer Breeze. First person writing was so fun! I found it a bit easier than writing in the third person.

What’s your POV? Do you prefer reading and/or writing in the third person omniscient or limited, or the first person POV?

Time for the Thursday Blog Bounce hosted by Omnific Publishing.

8 thoughts on “Your POV on POV”

  1. For me it really depends on the story. The limited is good if there's a reason not to have the reader clued into what others are thinking. It can add another layer of suspense. But I think the omniscient is great for With Good Behavior (which I'm in the middle of and greatly enjoying :)). The story's compelling because we see clearly how both Grant and Sophie feel about each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to skip off into a happy ever after wonderland. And I like getting the glimpses into the other characters' thoughts – especially Logan (I've got a thing for Logan – what's wrong with me?)But I've enjoyed (and mostly write) many a 3rd limited story, so I'm sure that'll be great for your next one – and probably fun as a writer to challenge yourself to something new, huh?


  2. A very good question. For me, the short answer is, it depends. A novel/story written in the first person by a psychologist would hook me (as I'd know there would be deeper insight.) But I avoid first person, \”summer vacation\” books, as a general rule. Having said that, I have no problem with short stories written in the first person. Indeed, I think the first person often works best here.


  3. Nicki, I tried to write Logan as the sexy man he is, despite his failings. I have kind of a thing for him too, though Grant's character is what inspired the story in the first place. Good to hear the omniscient POV is working for you. At the end of the day it is \”fun\” to challenge myself with something new, but I do a fair amount of complaining from all the editing the challenge has created!Kitty, we do seem to take first person perspectives a bit less seriously, don't we? But I think they can be very deep and I'm interested in writing more with first person POV. I'm sneaking in more italicized observations from my characters using third person, so that feels like the best of both worlds.Thanks for your comments, ladies!


  4. I have to third the \”it depends\” POV on POV. For example, Cat O' Nine Tails is third person limited and the next book I'm working on, in a separate series, is first person. However, that first person changes from the two leads in the book, alternating chapters. Now, that may change depending on if A) when I submit it to Omni they want to publish it and B) what my editors have to say about it. As a reader, I'm not a huge fan of first person to be perfectly honest, but if the story is good and grabs me in the first chapter I can deal with it 🙂


  5. Hi Patty, I haven't read many first person POV books but if it's good writing, I'll read any POV. I have to admit the Twilight series totally sucked me in and I wonder if the POV had something to do with that.


  6. Good question. The first few novels I wrote were in limited third person. I didn't try first person until I had one of my novels critiqued by an editor at a conference. I actually rewrote that novel to be first person and was much happier with it. Since then, I try first person before third and if it's working I go with it.


  7. Cherie, that must have been a tremendous amount of work to rewrite from third to first person, and I'm glad you were pleased by the outcome!Karen, I must admit I rarely notice POV unless it's in first person. Most of the novels I read are in third person limited, I guess.


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