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Well, That Makes Sense

As you may already know, I had a bit of a crisis yesterday. On Twitter I noticed a few people say they hated writing and reading in 3rd person Point Of View. An agent said most of the submissions they got were in 3rd, and I know 1st person is very prevalent in Young Adult. I write YA, and the current WIP is in 3rd, which made me needlessly nervous.

My current WIP is a YA Epic Fantasy, but with a Paranormal twist. Epics lend themselves far better to 3rd person POV, but with the Paranormal twist, I could really see 1st person POV working. So I told my #amwriting family on Twitter (I don't know what I'd do without them), and they gave me some great advice. I wrote some random snippets in 1st person, but it just didn't feel right, and so I stepped away for a bit. I was lucky enough that a special, helpful Twitter friend came to my further rescue on what POV to use. I admire him greatly, and can't thank him enough for pointing out what I was messing up.

He told me many aspiring writers start out using 1st person, because it's how most people tell a story. I've written mostly in 3rd, but could see the reasoning, though it feels awkward to me. I thought maybe I should change the POV, but he added 1st had its problems and could be hard to master, or for readers to enjoy. He said there was a better POV to use, and then he showed me.

After reading a sample of my work, he saw I was doing 3rd person omniscient, and that 3rd person limited would be better. He rewrote a snippet of my work to show the differences, and I was amazed. Rereading the original sample, I could tell there was something funky about it, an odd, faint confusion. I'd thought it was the sentence structure, but when he showed me my mix-ups, it all became clear. No wonder I was still feeling curiously distant from my MC.

A Writing Buddy looked over my 1st person snippet and said it wasn't nearly as good as my 3rd, and agreed 3rd limited would work better. Further, she said a writer can tell when the POV needs to be changed far before reaching 90K words, or doing an entire rewrite like I did. With everyone's encouragement and advice, and the most helpful emails from an amazing friend, I have a better handle on what needs to go into these revisions.

Even better, I realized the long scenes and chapters where keeping me from seeing the whole of the book, so I'm ferreting out the plot holes from my outline. This way, I remember what each scene is about without reading all the extras in the manuscript. I feel refreshed and ready to tackle this work, and hopefully my Beta Readers won't begrudge me too much for sending such a sloppy first draft :P


  1. I'm so glad you blogged about this. I tend to do short stories in 1st and my main manuscript from 3rd limited. I think 3rd limited is more relatable for everyone. You're peeking in and out with one character instead of reading cues for many or impressions from one. Great post.

  2. Thanks, Angie Kate! I did a short in 1st awhile ago that I posted on this blog, & a reader wanted more. Didn't, because couldn't continue in 1st and had no ide as for more in the story.

    So true! 3rd limited is so much more relatable to everyone. Some of the novels I read this year were a bit annoying to finish, because the MC was so unlike me, their choices made no sense to me and pulled me out of the story. With 3rd limited, you get the immediacy of 1st but can still get clues the MC may not catch yet.

  3. exactly! I like it because it's more mysterious too. And you can choose how to view something. For example, a lot of unpleasant awkwardness happens to my MC and instead of 1st, where I would have to go into how hot cheeks flush etc., I can just poke fun of him for it. It's a team effort between you and the character.

    Good luck, I know that rewrite is going to be a pain in the butt but it'll be so worth it in the end.

    PS I'd love to read your short story if you can tell me what it's called or what day you posted it.

  4. Lia Keyes says:

    Third person omniscient is really hard to pull off, but in the hands of a master like Philip Pullman or Jane Austen it's a powerful tool. For YA, however, a closer POV makes it easier for the reader to identify with the POV character and feel emotionally involved.

    How great that you have such terrific Twitter friends - who knew 140 words could achieve so much?

    Btw, I totally adore your blog skin/template/thingy! Where the heck did you find it?

    See you in the Revision Vision group!

  5. @Angie Kate - lol exactly! When I read in 1st and something really embarrassing happens to the MC and I have to 'be' the MC, I start moaning and crying out "Nooo this is horrible, don't embarrass me!" I also do this at movies, which is, well, embarrassing, lol.

    Oh, and the Short Story is at http://thewordsofawriter.blogspot.com/2009/06/girl-down-short-story.html I wrote it a year before I ever posted it, so the writing isn't very good, but I like it overall.

    @Lia Keyes - Totally true, and the same thing with 1st person present. Hunger Games is in 1st present tense, and I didn't notice it all three times I read it. It was only a week ago a friend told me and I was like WOAH. Having such great friends on Twitter is a boon - there's always someone around to help out a writer in need lol.

    LOL thanks! I got it from Blogger Themes, they've got some AWESOME templates. I went to go get the link, and I saw some new ones that are gorgeous too! http://www.bloggerthemes.net/ Enjoy!

    Off to the Revision Vision group! LOL

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