Preferred POV and Tense – My Ity Opinion

We all have a perspective that we like better when it comes to reading a book. Some books are first person or third person. There are variations of course, but those are the two that I remember reading myself. They can really change how a book is read, at least to me, because either you can feel like you are seeing a bigger picture with the third person perspective or you feel like you are connecting with the main character with first person.

This is one of those wonderful things that are always going to be different person to person in terms of preferences. I’m sure that a lot of people may not agree with me and that is wonderful but having differing opinions is one of those great things about being human.

The 4 Types of Point of View*

Here are the four primary POV types in fiction:

  • First person point of view. First person is when “I” am telling the story. The character is in the story, relating his or her experiences directly.
  • Second person point of view. The story is told to “you.” This POV is not common in fiction, but it’s still good to know (it is common in nonfiction).
  • Third person point of view, limited. The story is about “he” or “she.” This is the most common point of view in commercial fiction. The narrator is outside of the story and relating the experiences of a character.
  • Third person point of view, omniscient. The story is still about “he” or “she,” but the narrator has full access to the thoughts and experiences of all characters in the story.

If I had to pick one that I prefer to read it’s first person. There is something about feeling like the person that is telling the story, is telling it to you as the reader and I love that. I love third person too because then you can know the feelings of everyone not just the main character but the connection isn’t quite the same. Having said that some of my favorite books aren’t in first person.

Now if we are talking writing, my preferred POV is third. It’s easier to tell a story with multiple characters and show how they are thinking or feeling. First person is limited in scope, it’s great but it can only go so far. I’ve tried because I wanted to be able to have that kind of connection with the reader but I always got stuck.

Of course then there is tense. Past or Present. I find it extremely difficult to read anything in present tense. I’ve seen it done, but I just don’t like it. It’s confusing to me as the reader. I’m sure there are plenty of books that I’m missing out on because of this fact, but I try and avoid it if I can.

You by Caroline Kepnes is one book that throws the dislike of that tense out the window. In You it mostly seems to be in 2nd person with the main character seeming to talk to ‘You’ however when I started reading Hidden Bodies, the sequel, it is more 1st person present and it’s the only book series that I love despite this fact and actually thoroughly enjoy being in the action as it happens. I think this also has to do with the fact that Joe slides into past tense as well so it’s like the best of both worlds. Enough about that though.

Past tense would be my favorite, as weird as it sounds, because it’s like I’m reading a story that already happened so it just makes sense to me. It is a tough one to write in though, which you would think that it isn’t. I think the one thing is that my brain wants to write in present tense so sometimes I get those mixed up. Things that I should put the “-ed” on tend to not get them until I’m rereading what I’ve written and even then I can miss it.

I think the fun thing about this is the idea that a story can be written so many different ways. Even within one book, there could be different POV’s. That just seems so interesting to me. The possibilities are endless. That makes the experience of reading are wonderful and writing exciting to me.

What do you all think? I’d love to read your comments or I invite you to also post your opinions on this topic especially if they differ from mine. Discussion posts are the best!

*Found on The Write Practice

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