Point of View in Novels

Posted by Backyard Urban Gardening on Friday, November 10, 2006

I read an interesting blog post today at Tennessee Text Wrestling titled "Point of View: Decisions, Decisions" written by Thomma Lyn a self described cat wrangler, biker chick, novelist from Eastern Tennessee.

I'm sure most of us have struggled with this decision making process from time to time. When I write, I seem to gravitate to "Third Person (limited) Past Tense". I guess that I naturally write from this point of view because as a History Major with a concentration in English in college, I did a lot of research-based writing. I've been seeing "First Person, Present Tense" used a lot lately and I'm noticing more and more memoirs popping up in bookstores. I've always heard that first person is taboo for serious writers (unless of course they happen to be someone famous composing a memoir).

I found it interesting that Thomma explains that she wrote her first novel in present tense first person and later revised it to third person limited past tense.

Do you think the growing popularity of blogs and blogging is removing some of the stigma of writing a novel in "First Person, Present Tense"?


Thomma Lyn said...

Hi! I happened on you via your comment on Fran's blog. :)

That's a good question, whether blogging, etc., is removing some of the stigma against first person, present tense. It might well be. Certainly first person, past tense has become much more widely used in recent years, particularly in Chick Lit (which I admit, I'm not crazy about).

There was an interesting discussion on Absolute Write Water Cooler a while back. Writers discussed their preferences as to POV and tense, not as writers but as readers, and many of them said they have a strong, visceral dislike of present tense novels.

As a reader and as a writer I prefer past tense (for whichever POV), but as a writer it's also fun to experiment with what is the best way to tell a story.

Fran said...

Yep, I think blogging will affect that aspect of reading and writing, and other aspects too. It has also seemingly influenced publishing a bit--and probably society too, though that may just be because the internet in general probably has a societal influence.

Kristen King said...

I think the confessional nature of blogging is going to make first person more accepted, but I don't know if it's going to make it more published. Fortunately, there are a lot of great writers who blog. Unfortunately, there are a lot more God-awful writers who blog. I think it's too soon to tell, but I always enjoy talking about POV: http://tinyurl.com/hl9a2


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