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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – HEATHER GILBERT

 

 

 

Point of View—from an Author’s Point of View

by Heather Day Gilbert

 

I’ve listened as a fly on the wall in a couple of readers’ groups online, and it’s interesting how polarized people can feel about first person versus third person point of view in books.

For example, some refuse to pick up a first person book, thinking it’ll be strewn with “I” sentences. Others prefer first POV, enjoying the closeness it allows to the main character(s).

I believe authors have to be adaptable, but I imagine most of us have a point of view we feel most natural writing in.

For me, that’s first person present point of view. I used this for my Viking historical and thought I was breaking all the rules, until I realized Philippa Gregory also employs that POV (I’m not as weird as I thought!). I used first present POV for my contemporary mysteries, as well.

Yet lately, I’ve written in third person past POV for a couple of anthologies I am in, and I enjoyed that too. Yes, it was quite a leap, but I’d learned a bit about deep third POV from my critique partner (Becky Doughty), who absolutely rocks that POV in such a way I feel like I’m reading first, because I’m so deep in the characters’ heads.

How do you write deep third person POV? I’ve read several posts on this, but I think the key is to remove distancing words, like “he saw”, “she thought”, or “he felt”. We’re in that person’s head, so if they’re thinking Mrs. McGillicuddy has a weird hairdo, they would simply say “Weird hair,” instead of “‘Weird hair,’ I thought”.

For first POV, I would suggest changing up your sentence structure so you’re conscious of multiple sentences starting with “I.” For example:

I walked to the store. The pavement seemed to broil under my feet. I peered into the glass windows—no one there. I banged on the door anyway.

You could change it up like this (bonus points if you spot that passive verb I threw in the paragraph above):

The pavement broiled under my feet as I walked to the store. Peering through the glass windows, I could tell no one was there. I banged on the door anyway.

I will add that I’ve read numerous traditionally published books written in first POV that start sentence after sentence with “I”, so although it’s not advisable, apparently it can be done. Personally, I prefer to get in a flow as I write my sentences, trying to stay conscious of that niggly “I” word.

There are numerous other POVs—first person past, third person present, omniscient third (tricky and not often done these days), and of course any of these can integrate alternating or multiple POVs (I have done this in my books, as well).

As a reader, I’ve found I naturally migrate to first person POV books. Did you know Jane Eyre is written in first person? What about Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier? Despite what I’ve heard some say, first person is hardly a 21st century phenomena, although I believe Twilight brought it to the forefront in YA literature in the 2000s.

 

***What about you? What point of view do you migrate to as a reader? And if you’re an author, what POV do you prefer to write in? And here’s a challenge—if you tend to read only one POV, why don’t you switch it up and try something else for a change? You never know what might happen!***

 

 

 

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HEATHER DAY GILBERT, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. You can find Heather’s Viking historicals and West Virginia mystery/suspense novels here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Heather online here:

Website: http://heatherdaygilbert.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert

Twitter: @heatherdgilbert

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherdgilbert/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232683.Heather_Day_Gilbert

E-Mail: heatherdaygilbert@gmail.com

 

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Heather Day Gilbert, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Point of View, God’s Daughter, Miranda Warning, Trial by Twelve, Indie Publishing Handbook, Out of Circulation

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