Since I’ve been actively writing and submitting work, I’m more aware of getting out of doing what I’ve always done and that’s mainly writing in first person point of view (POV). That mainly comes from decades of journaling so it’s easiest for me. That’s what my 120 pages plus of my novel is — so no way, no how am I going to change it to any other POV at this stage.
The benefits are that the reader feels an instant connection (hopefully) to the main character. I’ve not tried first person POV via a minor character, so that could be another tactic. But, the general consensus is that beginning writers fall into the trap of writing in first-person.
Great examples: John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, fun-to-read Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding and one of my all-time favorites, the hilarious Fear of Flying by Erica Jong.
I have tried my hand at third person and found it to be relatively painless as well. It allows more freedom and flexibility such as describing a person’s physical appearance without relying on the old stand-bys when writing in first person, especially third-person omniscient. Limited third-person, at least to me, is kind of like first-person because I’m still writing mainly about the perspective of one character.
It’s the most popular form of fiction writing.
Second-person POV – A Challenge
What I think is the most difficult (and difficult to read until you get into the rhythm of it) is second-person POV. You don’t see it that much. I recently read Jennifer Egan’s Out of Body from The Best American Short Stories and just started reading Sophie Hannah’s The Truth-Teller’s Lie, both written in second-person and both very, very good.
It was a bit disconcerting at first. The use of “you,” but if it’s good enough for J.D. Salinger, (Catcher in the Rye — is that second-person or third person omniscient with Holden using the word “you” directed at the reader?) then I think I’ll give it a try.
Even if I never show it to anyone.
Although, it’d be much easier to write a “How-to” book in second-person than fiction, maybe I can create an angst-filled character that is blaming another about her/his lot in life — kind of accusatory — that’d be easy, right?
I recently wrote a short story about an inanimate object, written in third-person omniscient and I’m proud of the way it turned out. That was getting out of my comfort zone, so one of my goals within the week is to give the second-person point of view thing a try.
What point of view do you gravitate toward? Which one would take you out of your comfort zone?
Share your comments, happy writing and you have a great weekend.