A First Choice
Rebecca Mikkelson, Editor-in-Chief Authors 4 Authors Publishing
Last week we went over the kinds of POV. This week we’re going to be talking about first person POV in greater depth for both the reader and the writer to understand if this is the kind of POV they want.
What constitutes first person POV?
First person POV is defined by dictionary.com as: “the grammatical person used by a speaker in statements referring to himself or herself (first person singular) or to a group including himself or herself (first person plural).” In other words, it can easily be recognized by the types of pronouns used in the prose, namely me, myself, I, we, our, and us.
What are the advantages to first person POV?
That’s a very easily answered question: because we already speak in first person POV. It’s one of the easier points of view to write in because it comes naturally, no matter your skill with language. Not only is it a natural extension of yourself, it is an effective tool to bring your reader into the story and have an immersive experience starting at the first sentence. Another advantage is that you’re stuck in a single point of view. This allows you to really develop your narrator with a far more intense relationship to the reader than you would in second or third person point of view.
What are the disadvantages to first person POV?
The two biggest disadvantages that I’ve found in writing first person POV are that the writer has more difficulty describing the narrator and is stuck solely in the narrator’s mind—that is, unless it’s a multiple first person POV book. You can certainly tell a beautifully crafted and compelling story in the point of view in a single person, but that generally is the case of a seasoned writer honing their craft.
Now, for descriptions of the narrator...that issue is a tricky one. When we describe ourselves, it’s not nearly as flowery as the way a writer would describe their characters. For example, if I were to describe myself, I would tell you I have brown hair and blue eyes and leave it at that. If I were writing myself as a character, I would say: “I have long flowing dark golden brown hair that swishes against my lower back as I walk and penetrating blue eyes that pop out against skin so white it glows in the moonlight.” The first description is pretty standard information, whereas the second description sounds like I’m trying to score a date with someone who called the wrong number and has never seen me before. The writer has to find the perfect balance of sneaking in descriptions without making their main character sound vain or awkward.
Is first person POV right for me?
If you enjoy reading or writing something that you can self-insert into the work, then it absolutely is the POV for you. Everyone has a different experience when they read first person; some people can’t get enough of it, and other want to escape into the lives of what others are doing like they would in third person POV.
No matter what point of view you write in, you must know the rules for writing in it and stick to them, no matter how frustrating it can get.
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