Hello everyone! My name is Sloan Parker, and I’m a newly published romance author. Thanks to the lovely Janna for inviting me by her blog today and allowing me to share my thoughts on writing romances in both first and third person points of view (POV).
When I was writing the first draft of my current story, BREATHE (written in third person), I was also working with my editor on edits to my book MORE (written in first person). It was interesting to flip back and forth between the two types of viewpoints. Each POV has its own advantages and disadvantages for both the reader and the writer.
So today I thought I’d share some of what I like and dislike about writing in each.
Limited Third Person / Told from Multiple Alternating Viewpoints (Uses pronouns “he” or “she”)
What I like:
- Multiple histories & life experiences. I like being able to explore more than one viewpoint of the events in a story. Each character looks at the world and interprets events and the actions of others differently.
- Emotional journeys of all involved. In third person, I can more easily focus on the emotional journey of both (or all) of the main characters in the relationship.
- Getting to the heart of the matter. By switching back and forth between the main characters, I can write each scene from the viewpoint of whichever character is most emotionally impacted by the events in that moment. There are some scenes in MORE where it would have been nice to get into Matthew’s or Richard’s head.
What I don’t like:
- Those tricky little words “he” and “she.” Pronouns can be a headache for any writer, especially for scenes with two or more characters of the same gender. This is not just an issue for love scenes in m/m romances, but for any scene with multiple characters of the same gender. This can lead to awkward wording with repeated names or character descriptions in place of vague pronouns.
- A stop to the tension. It can be hard to keep the tension going in third person when you are alternating viewpoints between characters. If one character is wondering what the other is thinking or feeling, the reader may already know and thus the tension is lessoned.
- Too stupid to live. Often, the reader ends up with more information than the individual characters which can lead to one or more characters looking stupid or as if they should’ve “known better.”
First Person / Told from One Viewpoint (Uses pronouns “I” or “me”)
What I like:
- A deeper connection. When writing as the narrator of the story (who also is “in” the story), I find it gives me a more immediate and personal connection to the main character.
- Faster first draft. By putting myself in each scene as though I am the POV character, I can quickly slip into his head and the actions surrounding him. As a writer, I find this easier to achieve in first person.
- He can be trusted. First person helps establish credibility for the main POV character. At no point in the story do we see that character’s actions without his viewpoint and thus are not as tempted to question his motivations.
What I don’t like:
- What happened when he was sleeping (or unconscious or in the bathroom)? Writing in first means you are limited to only the immediate actions that the POV character is present for or what he/she is told by others.
- He seems shifty. In first person, I worry that the reader may question the motives of the other characters whose thoughts they are not privy to, and this may not be the reaction I’m hoping for.
- I don’t like him. First person (especially in novel-length works) can be a risky storytelling convention. The narrator needs to be likeable or at least interesting (he/she can have faults but cannot be boring or annoying). If the reader doesn’t like that character, then chances are they won’t connect with the book.
As a reader, I have liked and disliked romances written in both first and third person. It all depends on how the author executes the story and the characterizations.
So what do you think? I’d love to hear your likes and dislikes. Do you enjoy reading books told in first person, third, or both? Do you like stories told from one person’s viewpoint or all of the main characters in the romantic relationship?
Thanks again, Janna, for letting me share on your blog today. And thanks to your readers for dropping by and checking out my thoughts on POV.
Thank you, Sloan! It was my pleasure to have you here today.
Sloan has generously offered a copy of her ebook More for giveaway. This is a M/M/M romance, published at Loose Id.
The giveaway is open to everyone, I will announce the winner on April 27.
To enter the giveaway, follow my blog and leave a comment on this post before Monday night (April 26). I would love it if you answer Sloan’s questions or ask her something about the first and third POV. She’ll be stopping by today to respond to your comments or questions.
Good luck to you all!
For fifteen years Luke Moore has lived by three rules: stay off his father's radar, never spend more than a single night with any man, and never fall in love again. But one night of explosive sex and two men whom he can’t get out of his head have Luke breaking them all. Richard and Matthew push him past all his boundaries—both sexually and personally—and now he’s no longer hiding from his senator father; he’s taking him on. And he isn’t just falling for one man; he’s falling for two. If you're going to break the rules, might as well break them big.
But Luke’s father has his reasons for hating how his son lives, and he’ll do whatever he can and use all his power to keep Luke away from Richard and Matthew.
Can this threesome find a way to make their unconventional relationship last with the world around them trying to pull them apart? And will Luke be able to keep breaking his rules for Richard and Matthew, or will he head back to his familiar way of life just when his new lovers want to bind him tighter?
Buy the book here
Read an excerpt here