When it comes to reading fiction, authors have to be careful in how they choose what point of view they want to put in a story because having a certain POV can either make or break a story for their readers. Each point of view has its advantages and disadvantages. I don’t think that any of them are bad in any way, it just depends on the story and how the author wants it to effect the experience of their readers. Because each point of view can really change how you look at a book. Now I will be honest, until the past five years or so, I didn’t really have a chance to read anything other than the the third person. This point of view has been the most common, for novels for many many years. The first time I experience the first POV was when Twilight came out when I was in my early twenties. I will be honest, it took me a long while to get used to it, and at first I SO didn’t care for it. I had never experienced it, and so it was quite different. Through the years I have had become more accustomed to it, but its not a POV I gravitate towards even today. I do realize, that its probably one of the most popular forms of point of view especially when reading romance, but quite frankly, it still displaces me at times. Since I don’t read it all that often. However, over the years I have learned to adapt to various points of view when reading a story, and actually now a days, enjoy all of them. Because they each can add a unique experience for the reader.
Types of Points of View (Definitions)
This is where there is more of a “narrator” set up here. Your view is not intimate or close to the character cast in any way. Its like watching from a “distance” and it can feel out of place, and a bit dispassionate. It has a more focused view on the events of the plot line, and on occasion you can see the thoughts of a character at times, but its not very frequent. There are reasons some authors will use this. It is most often used in Fantasy or Science Fiction when a author is try to do a a HUGE job of world building. This view is really used by authors for only a few reasons: the first is a big information dump for the reader. Especially when they are trying to describe a whole world and history of a people. So it can be very overwhelming at times. Another reason authors may use this type of POV, is when the author wants a story to have a more humorous set up. Because your viewing a story in a whole different way. We have what the cast of characters thinks is REAL and on the other side we have what we KNOW to be real for the story and so it adds a few levels of irony and humor that you couldn’t find in other types of POV. This type of view is probably my least favorites. I like being able to connect with a story, and this POV makes it so HARD to do that. I have read a couple of science fiction novels when I was a teen that was like this, and didn’t care for it too much, it kept me too off balance. Third person is the type of view I prefer the most to read.
First Person (Past Tense)
I have had a chance to read a few books like these, but they don’t happen very often. This is where the narrator of the story, is remembering past events and relaying them to you. We are inside their mind and seeing their thoughts and feelings of their “memory” as they convey an events or series of moments that occur in their memory. I see this most often with a mix of first person present tense or even mixed with Third person at times. It can be both a positive or negative experience here. There isn’t anything wrong with this style of POV, in fact sometimes if you know the ending before the series of events, it can prove to be an interesting experience seeing how events get laid out in their memory or how they viewed how events occur.
First Person (Present Tense)
This POV is the one that you see the most (lately) , and most of the time in contemporary and new adult romance is where I see it the most. I rarely see it in historical or paranormal. Although sometimes I do see it in those genres, but its not very often. This is where we see a story from one person and how they view and annalyze how events and circumstances happen in their mind, thoughts and feelings at the present time. This is where we see how certain events effect this person we are receiving a narrative from, and how they react to their change in circumstances as they go from one moment to the next. I will say that it still takes me time to adjust to this form of narrative in a story. I have been reading romance for fifteen years (and holy cow I feel old hehe) however most of the time I have read the 3rd person. So first person, still takes time for me to adjust but I have found I enjoy it at times. I like it most when it alternates between the couple or even three people, if there is a third person, a friend of the couple or even a villain.
This point of view is used the least, at least from what I have read. In fact, I am not sure I have actually read a book with the 2nd person POV. This POV is where You are the focus, and you go on a journey or experience a series of events. You hardly ever see this type of POV, because it can be really challenging for a author to implement a cast of characters with the type of form that most readers that enjoy reading fiction, would actually enjoy reading. I do know some authors that have used this, and they use it mostly because they want the reader to experience something different. They want the reader “You”, to experience what the protagonist feels and experiences in a series of events. I think I may have read a book like this once in high school, but honestly can’t remember the title, I just know it was “required” reading and have avoided this POV ever since because I struggled with it so much. And I am relieved that its hardly ever used in romance fiction. I don’t even know if it has been used in romance, probably more so in general fiction or maybe even YA?
Third Person Objective
This is a unique style of seeing the third person, and I have experienced it on occasion, and even though its different and not my preferred POV, it definitely adds something different to your reading experience. In the objective format, its more like reading a documentary of a story. You never get in touch with the characters thoughts or emotions, you just mostly see a series of events and facts are laid out. This is the least emotionally engaging type of POV, because it focuses more on the facts and sequences of events than the internal thoughts of a character. This is where the reader has a chance to form their own opinions on what the story is relaying, and this is also where you definitely need to use your imagination at times especially when it comes to the cast of characters, because there is no emotional connection at all, so if I ever read this style, I definitely need to use my imagination creatively and imagine how these characters would be thinking of feeling during the series of events that happen.
Third Person Limited
This is where we see events that happen through one person with thoughts and emotions but not on a constant basis. Its more like reading a reality TV show per-say. We see how everything plays out, but we don’t have constant connection with the cast of characters all of the time. Its a very limited view of this characters and it can switch from person to person, although its more common to see the focus to be on one sole character. This works really well when you have a large cast of characters, and some world building that makes the reader look at the “bigger picture. I feel like this can bring about a more well rounded experience, since you are seeing things various areas, and its not focused on one person intimately.
Third Person Intimate
This is another third POV that I enjoy quite a bit and I see the most often especially in romance. This is where the view is focused on one maybe two characters, and we events through their eyes but we also see the story from various angles too. It is similar to the first person….but NOT. We see how events play out in their perspective, and are more intimately connected to these characters that we see their views on what is happening. But we also see the story from other angles as well while staying in tune closely with these few characters. I like this one the most, because I am able to connect with a story the most in this POV.
Questions For My Readers:
What types of POV do you read the most? What are your favorites? And which ones do you like the least when reading fiction?
Tell me your thoughts, I would LOVE to know!