The POV debate

As I have stated in a previous entry, I’ve had a long-time ban on books written in first person POV (known as FPPOV for the rest of this entry).  That ban ended, though, upon giving in and reading Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, because then I read Slammed and Point of Retreat.  This past weekend, I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which is another book written in FPPOV, and also another book that had a gutting, heart-wrenching effect on me.

So all this crying I’ve been doing over these books lately – all written in FPPOV, no less – have me thinking:  is FPPOV the new “thing” in popular fiction?  Because all of these books that have knocked me to my knees with emotion are best sellers, and they’re all written in first person.   Is that where it’s at now in the world of fiction?

I’m struggling to write my own book.  Each and every sentence feels like a monumental task because I’m still trying to find my characters’ voices.  The idea of just one voice, flowing so freely in “me” speak, is appealing.  But I’m a third person kind of girl.  I love third person.  I’ve embraced it my entire writing life.  Third person POV and the Oxford comma are my two favorite parts of the writing process.  Can I write my story, and tell it as authentically as I want to, if I’m only inside one character’s head and only sharing her voice?  One of the reasons I love writing romances is because I have two characters who are world apart at the beginning who have to find their way to a spot where their orbits intersect.  If I’m only sharing one voice and one character’s thoughts, I can’t do that.

So what’s the answer – is FPPOV the way to go now?  Do readers have a particular narrative that they prefer?  Am I using this debate as just an excuse to put off writing even more?  I need answers!


7 thoughts on “The POV debate

  1. You’re using it as an excuse. I think the great books don’t matter what POV they’re written in. It’s the story that truly matters and yours are worth telling, need to be told, should be told. They’re meant to be enjoyed by millions. You deserve that much and more. Fuck the “in” thing. Whatever you want, what you feel, is what should be. You know that.

  2. My views on FPPOV definitely changed after reading Hopeless and Slammed/Point of Retreat. I’ve read other books in the past, but they never changed my views. I think those books were just so well written that it’d be foolish not to end the ban on FPPOV. Writing and reading-wise, I’m always fond of third person. I like reading several characters thoughts, knowing their reasons for acting the way they do. That’s something you don’t get when reading FPPOV. However, I am seeing more and more books being written in FPPOV. I’m also noticing that (along with YA or books that center around a young character) seems to be the “thing” lately. Hollywood seems to be snapping up rights to books like that, making movies (or in some cases a whole TV series) off of them. Then again, Hollywood had a tendency to stumble upon one thing, then dedicate months on end to snatching similar ideas and running with them until they stumble upon something new. I think writing through one character would make things easier on the author, because it’s only one voice and it’s simpler to write a world through one person’s perspective. While it definitely limits things writing in FPPOV (i.e. no stepping away from the main character during a moment, constantly living in that one character’s feelings no matter what), I think it also opens other gateways in terms of writing. I think it’s interesting when authors write a novel in one character’s POV, then are able to write the same novel in another’s POV and make it a completely new experience. I’m not sure if I’d be able to write something that way, but I can definitely understand the appeal.

    • I totally agree about how Hollywood latches on to something and right now, YA books in FPPOV is the “in thing.” It definitely does have appeal, but at the same time, I feel like it’s kind of stifling for the story overall. And yes ma’am, I’ll get back to my writing!

    • I think in a year or two FPPOV will lose some of it’s traction in terms of being the in~ thing in popular fiction, while third person stories often stand the test of time.

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