Thursday, June 18, 2015

What the POV?!?

I'm not talking about 3rd person or past/present tense. I'm talking about who's telling us the story. Male, female, or cat - we all have our favorite perspectives. Who would you rather tell the story? Say you like seeing the story through a female's eyes - do you turn away from the story when it's coming from the brain of a male? Or do you keep reading with a suspicious feeling that something just isn't write...ahem...right?

Writers, which one are you most comfortable writing?

Everyone, what are your thoughts on dual POV? Alternating chapters? The first half of the book in one POV and the next half in a different one?

Tell the world (or our few subscribers) your opinions on POV. Inquiring minds want to know.

Dan: First of all, I can't get into a book with an animal protagonist unless it's something I'm reading to my kids. As a reader, I don't have a preference for male or female protagonists. As a writer, however, I've not yet been brave enough to write a book from an entirely female POV. That's largely because I put a lot of myself into my protagonists, and I'm a guy. But I think it's important to have well-rounded female characters to balance that out, and I certainly try to do so.

Lisa: About a year ago, I picked up a book from a campground "free" bookshelf and took it back to my camper thinking I had a nice vacation book. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was told through the eyes of a cat - a suspense novel. I think they're called cozy mysteries. My lack of reading options forced me to read the book anyway. Now, I'm not ready to shout from the rooftops how great books from an animal's POV are. But it was a whole lot better than I thought it would be. Seeing the story from a four-legged creature also allowed me to see a glimpse of the world through a very different perspective. I saw how silly humans might appear to animals. Since then, I don't seek out novels told from the perspective of an animal, but I don't turn away from an interesting plotline because of how many legs the storyteller has anymore.

As far as gender - I love writing from a male's perspective, but I'm beginning to realize a lot of young adults would rather have a female storyteller. Someone tell me I'm wrong, please.
I've also been told that young adults don't mind a male POV as long as it shifts between his and a girl's - dual POV. What do you think?

Karlie: Like Dan, I generally veer away from the books with animal protagonists, but if I found something that looked interesting enough, I'd definitely dive in! And I guess I'm an odd duck - for some reason, I can get into the male's head way better than I can the female's. Everyone tells me my male characters are their favorites! I don't know if I'm wired wrong or what. :) But I've been working on making my female characters more relatable and rounded - in fact, my novel Kismet is told entirely from a female perspective, with the exception of about five chapters.

As far as reading goes, I don't really care - either gender is fine with me. I do prefer dual POV, but in some cases, telling it in only one POV preserves some of the mystery. It all depends on the story, in the end. Great topic!

Caitlin: For me, this definitely brings to mind The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I had really mixed feelings on that book, but I was completely fine with the dog narrating it. I also like both male and female POVs, but, like Dan, I'm not quite brave enough yet to push myself to write a long work from a male perspective. The project I'm working on now has two POVs, two sisters. But I'm thinking of adding in the voices of two male characters. We'll see...

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