POV Part 3 – 6 Must Ask Questions Before Choosing 1st Person POV

When writing in first-person point of view, you use the pronouns “I” and “we.” First-person POV creates an intimate connection between the character and the reader as the reader has access to all of the POV character’s actions and reactions. Readers know what the character is thinking, why they do what they do, and how they feel about other characters. Readers love this, and when you’re writing fiction, it’s crucial that you create characters your readers care about.

Choose it when you want to write a story from one or two character’s perspectives, maybe three but not more than that. It’s quite common for an author to choose first-person and then switch the first-person narrator at each chapter. The hugely popular Divergent series is written this way as is the novel The Help.

The reason authors choose multiple first-person narrators is because the main POV character isn’t always where all the action takes place.

For example in The Help, the young white woman, Skeeter, is trying to write the story of the black housemaids in the south during the sixties. While she can talk to the maids, she cannot accurately describe their life as maids. It would be a socio-cultural impossibility. Therefore the author, Kathryn Sackett, chose to also write from the perspective of two of the maids, Abilene and Minnie who could give their first-hand perspective on their own lives as maids.

One of the reasons multiple first-person narrators are so successful in The Help is the strong voice each character has. Even though each section uses “I,” Skeeter, Abilene, and Minnie each have a distinctive voice and style. First-person POV demands this for each character, especially if you are planning on using multiple first-person how to buy wellbutrin online POV’s.

It can get confusing to switch POV characters and then have them sound the same. You must always write in the character’s voice, never in your own authorial narrator’s voice.

If you are considering using a first-person POV, ask yourself the following questions. If the answer to each of them is “yes,” the first person POV, might be the perfect choice for your story.

1) Will one character be present during all the necessary action to tell the story? If not, would two characters be present everywhere needed to tell the whole story?

2) Do you have a good reason for the first-person narrator to be telling this tale? Why is it their “job” to be telling this story about themselves?

3)Will that character be emotionally able to tell the entire story, even if something dramatic and horrible happens to them? For example, if they are assaulted, could they still tell this story without completely falling apart?

4) Do you want the reader to have intimate access to every one of your character’s thoughts and feelings? Is this connection important to the story?

5) Do you have a strong, distinctive voice that conveys the differing attitudes, emotions, speaking style, and actions for each of your POV characters? If not, focus on ONE first-person POV character.

6) Can you maintain a consistent voice (that’s not your authorial voice) throughout your story?

Remember, your reader’s connection to the characters is made through your choice of POV which directly impacts how much the reader will care about your character.

Choose your POV wisely, and remember that one is not better than another. They just have different strengths. I’ll be addressing third limited POV next week if you’re considering using that.

What’s your favorite POV to write in? Share in the comments below.

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