Sep 26 2014 8:30am

How Do You Feel About First Person Point-of-View?

Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson in Jane Eyre

In the past, some romance readers said they were turned off by a book if it was told in the first person (“Reader, I married him”). But as New Adult and gothics are coming more into the mainstream of romance, it seems as though first person isn't still the hurdle it used to be.

How do you feel about first person point-of-view?

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. rubymydear
Meljean Brook's Frozen, which I just finished last week, was written in
1st and was really good. I also liked Mary Ann Rivers' Snowfall, Charlotte Stein's work. And Reece Ryan's Making the First Move got the voice just right. But generally, first person (especially first person, present tense) really exposes the writer; when an author gets the character's voice wrong it's really, really painful to read: self-conscious, awkward, grating. Most writers can't pull it off.
2. Scarlettleigh
First person doesn't bother me at all and honestly I never thought much about it. I was surprised when I realized that for many readers it is a deal breaker.
3. mrejane
I like books told in the first person. Especially the book has the hero and heroines POV =D
Jennifer Proffitt
4. JenniferProffitt
I used to hate it because to me that always meant that the series I was about to jump into was only going to follow one character's POV, but now with books in New Adult, the POV might be first person, but the series will go from couple to couple and so I don't mind it, and actually like it when it's done well.
5. pamelia
Love a first person read. I think some of my favorite books are written in first person (the Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey, just about everything by Kristen Ashley). The thing is though, that if the voice of a first person novel rubs a reader the wrong way, it's impossible to get over that, especially when it's first person present-tense.
I think a first person narrator makes reading the book a more intimate experience, and a first person present-tense narration ups that factor of intimacy so it's more likely to be either loved or hated (FSOG, I'm looking at you!)
6. EmilyD
First person is not a favorite of mine. I used to actively avoid it altogether but I'm more willing to give a book in 1st a try now that I've read some that were well-done. Being that far "inside" a character's thoughts often leads to me getting frustrated with them quicker than in 3rd.
7. Tabs
This utterly horrifies people (my BFF the very most) but... I don't tend to notice 1st person versus 3rd when I'm reading. Not at all. Except! I have found that I prefer 1st person when listening on audio.
8. Germaine_sba
I don't feel one way or the other about first person when it's written in the past tense (like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca). I LOATHE first person present (I see him come in the room). I won't read it -- no exceptions.
9. lauralee1912
I enjoy first person POV when it well done and the character is engaging. That said, I've read several novels in the past few months where the narrators grated my nerves with their first person silly observations. Not everyone can write Bridget Jones's Diary!
10. Mia West
Sometimes, if you're going to be very deep into a POV, it may as well be first as third. I like reading both and find it fascinating when an author brings out her POV character's voice in third-person narration. I think first person can skew to a younger-sounding voice, so I'm not surprised to find it in so many YA and NA works. It works well for me in any story in which the narrator has a limited perspective, e.g. he's young, or asocial, or solving a mystery.

One of my series is in first person/present, and I tried to have good reasons for both. I thought first person fit the high level of sexual sensation my narrator experiences, and for all her activity ;) she's very self-reliant, so I wanted the reader to be just as reliant on her personal narration. I chose present tense because she's a time traveling thief; her survival depends on her being in the moment all the time. It may be a deal-breaker for some, but I feel the story justifies the presentation.
Pamela Webb-Elliott
11. Spaz
I love first person! I didn't even realize it was looked down upon until recently.
Juliette Cross
14. JCross
What an interesting topic. I write in first person POV, so of course I'm a little biased. I've tried writing in third before, but I need the intimacy with my characters, which first provides. I'm enjoying seeing what readers think.

Thanks for sharing, H&H!
15. Dane
Sorry but not a fan of first peron POV. Never have been... has taken me years to read any in that. Finally broke down and read Karen Marie Moening's Fever series and enjoyed it but still would have preferred 3rd person.. I dislike it so much I still haven't read 50 Shades of Grey... so guess I'm stubborn with this viewpoint. But even well written its still a slanted POV that I just don't prefer.
16. whitewolf1273
First person is ready hard to pull off because its much less detailed which makes it good for suspense/crime and horror novels because its that much easier to withhold information from the reader writers like Laurell K. Hamilton are very good at utilizing this it adds suspense. However, there HAS to a be lot of main character development because any lack thereof is very noticeable in romance novels especially, if two characters are falling in love than naturally interal/emotional changes should be taking place. This is the problem I found in Twillight and in Fifty Shades of Grey the most dynamic character in Twillight is Jacob who also becomes the main anatagionist of Edward and Bella's relationship its really sad when the anatagionist has more development than the main characters, actual most of the characters develop more than Edward and Bella do now that I think about. Edward's the only vampire with a boring back story. I also should mention if you don't like the main protagionist the story can be painful to read since its told entirely from their perspective plus the internally monologues can be real mood killers E. L. James's Anatasia Steele is an expert at this. I wish her inner Godess would please shut up! I could not get half way past the second book because of this. I also find characters harder to relate in first person. I like to be able to imagine myself in the story especially in fantasy/paramornal romances but in first person its all about THAT person which is not a problem so long as the character has character and when I say this I mean good characterization. Stories that have a more scrictly romantic are more enjoyable in 3rd person because I enjoy being able to see how both the characters and their feelings develop which is hard to do from a one sided perspected. I feel that any writer who can do this is the best of the best though to be honest I have very little patience when it comes to first person romance novels so my opinion is pretty biased.
17. Erma Jay
I liked Fifty Shades of Grey written in 1st person as Anastasia. I also liked the one told from Christian Grey's point of view. it was titled, Grey.
Post a comment