First and Third: Point of View

Preface this by saying I love reading first-person POV books, probably because most of my favorite urban fantasy/PNR series are written in first.

So when I sat down to write ROYAL STREETl, I automatically began writing in first-person. And I still loved it, even into a second book, RIVER ROAD.

Then I sat down and wrote an unrelated novel in third person with shifting POV characters (but not head-hopping, thank you=Pet Peeve). REDEMPTION started out as an experiment and OMG. The freedom! The flexibility! The potential to move the stories in different ways.

Now, I’m flipping back to my first-person series for ELYSIAN FIELDS and realizing how many authorial gymnastics (love that phrase) one has to do in order to present a fully rounded first-person POV story. Worth the effort? Of course! But it has made me look harder at first-person limitations.

Which do you prefer? Pros and cons? Let’s talk!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

9 thoughts on “First and Third: Point of View

  1. I like reading both. I’ve only ever written in 3rd, although I have a series idea I planned to write in 1st. Haven’t gotten around to it, though.

  2. I’ll be interested in seeing how you like it. The biggest challenge, of course, is everything has to be filtered through your POV character (although I have read shifting first-person POVs…hmmm…that gives me a headache).

  3. I like reading both, but I have hard time switching back and forth. It takes me a chapter or so to get used to the POV usually. What I really don’t like is when it switches from 1st to 3rd in the same book (which I’ve only seen once and hope to not see again).

  4. Eeek, Tara–nope, I wouldn’t like first and third in same book either. I know…because I tried it. Thankfully, my editor tactfully said, “Uh, do you think that’s working?” And the only logical answer was “Uh, no.”

  5. I’m a POV snob. I only like third. I have read books in first person that I’ve liked. They were by people I know. When I’m at the bookstore looking for a book I read the back cover. If that intrigues me I flip to the first page. If it’s in first person I put it back on the shelf. I will read a first person book if someone I know has read it and LOVED it. But as a rule I don’t read them.

  6. Funny how people can react so differently to things…guess you won’t read my first two books, then–LOL. What is it you don’t like about first-person?

  7. LOVE first person. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy third person, I do, but it reminds me too much of someone telling me the story rather the the sense of immediacy and excitement I get from reading a well written first person story.

    Dare we even cover the topic of first person present tense? I’ll run for the hills now to avoid the rocks being thrown at me. đŸ˜‰

  8. I like knowing what other characters are thinking. I don’t like everything being filtered through one perosn. I have read first person books that were so well written I forgot they were first person. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. I will read first person books that are recommended by friends if they raved about them.

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