Monday, January 16, 2012

Am I Old Fashioned?

Before we get to today's post, I've posted an interview I did with Lady Olivia, one of the *stars* of my Regency series. If you're a fan, please go on over to my Anne Gallagher blog. I know the duchess will be taking questions, so if there's anything you'd like to ask a member of the British aristocracy circa 1810, by all means, feel free.

Good morning.
I sent my book, THE LADY'S FATE, to an old friend a few weeks ago. She wrote me to tell me she loved it, but she also asked why I write such old-fasioned stuff. I thought she meant the genre, which is Regency. She didn't. She was talking about my prose style.

I write in tight third person, with one POV for the hero, and one POV for the heroine. That's what I used to read when I was a kid on the beach. That's what I'm used to. That's what I'm comfortable with.

Mr. Bailey (six words for a hat) recently had a post about his current WIP, and how he's writing in limited third POV for one character and omniscient for another, alternating chapters. Which I find very exciting.

When I wrote my first book, I used omniscient POV. I loved the way it turned out, using all the characters' thoughts. However, after a couple of crit partners came back and told me it would be better to stick with one or two, I decided it was the wise choice.

I do like the ease with which I can get into one particular character's head with third. I do like the manageablity of the manuscript when I'm only alternating between two characters POV instead of a whole boatload.

But I miss the fun of omniscient. I feel there's a lot missing from my books in not being able to really share what the other characters are thinking, Lady Olivia especially. (And for those of you who've read my work, I bet you would like to know what Lady Olivia is thinking as well.)

Tell me -- What POV do you like to write? Which do you like to read?

*image courtesy of cynfulfashion*


Elliot Grace said...

...not sure why, but I tend to scribble in third person quite often, and enjoy reading that prose as well.

And just for the record, that old-fashioned charm of yours is a refreshing change of pace from all the vamp and zombie stories that are currently crowding the shelves at Barnes. It radiates class, my dear ;)


Stacy McKitrick said...

Old fashioned? Really? Maybe that person just reads a lot of YA!

I prefer 3rd person, but I don't mind more than one POV, provided it's their scene and there's no head-hopping.

My first three books were only two POVs: the hero and the heroine. My fourth widened to two extra POVs - it just turned out that way.

I suppose the more you write, the more comfortable you are at experimenting. But I'm not a huge fan of omnicient and I don't think I ever will be. I like KNOWING the POV characters, and you can't know them that way.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I write in 3rd person and read happily in any pov. I've never written in 1st person, but would like to give it a try. The omnipresent narrator is a powerful tool, but I don't think it's ever a good idea to use all the characters' thoughts. Too much character head hopping rarely does the reader any good. You aren't old fashioned. Old fashioned is vampire/werewolf/zombie tag.

Linda G. said...

The books I sold are in first person, but I like to write in limited 3rd, too. And I like to read just about anything, as long as it's carefully crafted.

Talli Roland said...

I'm quite enjoying first person POV right now!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Since I'm self absorbed, I love to read and write in first person.

LOL Just kidding, though I do love to write in first person. My first book was in third, but I decided to challenge myself to try first (man, was it ever a challenge). But once I got it figured out, I was sold.

Mac said...

I challenge myself to make my 3rd-past feel as close to 1st-present as possible, and stay in one head throughout the entire novel.

The single pov felt restricting at first, but as I realized how much more real it made the narrative, I was convinced it was right for my story-telling style.

Cheers, Mac

Anne Gallagher said...

Elliot -- I think 3rd is easiest for our brains to grasp. As for zombies/vamps/ etc. yeah, no, not for me. Thanks for the lovely compliment.

Stacey -- Head Hopping! Omniscient gets to be really confusing if not done well. I like to stick to one at a time.

Yvonne -- I've done one or two things in 1st person but found it a challenge. Which in a way is a good thing. Keeps me on my toes.

Linda -- Yeah, as long as its carefully crafted.

Talli -- And I must say you are extremely talented at 1st person! I'm jealous!

Stina -- Yeah, we have to find what works for us as individual authors. I've tried first but found it daunting. I couldn't get it.

Mac -- Yeah, I'm still awe-struck at how you do that. But you've got it all over me anyway.

Anthony Lee Collins said...

My mystery stories are in first person of the detective's assistant (her "Watson," or maybe her Archie Goodwin). My mystery novel was in third person for the first two-thirds, then when the detective showed up to solve the mystery, it switched to her assistant's first person. The story I'm working on now is in third person (though mostly tight limited, on a different person in each part). Not sure how I will handle it when the detective appears (which will be near the end, I think).

I think different genres tend to work better in different POVs, but I admit I haven't thought about how this applies to a lot of genres.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I write mostly in 3rd person with an omniscient narrator, but might like to play with 1st person someday. If a book is well-written, I enjoy just about any POV, but am not a huge fan of having too many of them, unless they're clearly separated by chapter.

Bish Denham said...

It all depends on the story. The book I'm currently revising is in 1st person, past tense. The last one started out in the omniscient third, but after rewrites ended up from one POV.

I guess I'll read and write anything. :)

Patti said...

I started with 3rd, but changed to 1st to get a better voice to the character. Now I'm writing a book with two POV. One third and one first. The transitions are definitely tricky.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't think your prose style was old fashioned.
I like third person from the viewpoint of two characters, although for my next book, I'm going to attempt three characters.

Ed Pilolla said...

i write in the third person, unless it's poetry, in which case i write in the first. i don't even think about it anymore. it's just how i write, automatically. and i'm glad becuz as fun as experimenting can be, i need to know which tools i use in which situations so as to give me less things to worry about and a better chance at clarity on the first draft.

Liza said...

My current work has POV's by three separate characters, which may be one too many...but it is a multi-generational story told by three women and I think they all need to be there. I wrote from inside their heads, but as if they were talking the way they would write in a diary. They aren't writing in diaries, but in my mind they were recording the action AS IF they were writing it all down...that way I could be inside their heads. The jury is out on whether or not it's working.

Francine Howarth: UK said...


Third-person every time: even to extent of three character POVs.

Omniscient can be a bit like finding oneself in a crowded room and everyone conversing along with their thoughts expressed as well: as mind boggling as previous sentence!

Not a fan of first-person at all.


Angie Paxton said...

I prefer reading and writing tight third. I get confused both reading and writing omniscient. I enjoy some first person past tense, but for the most part I find first person present irritating. Maybe because it's become the thing to do.

Susan Fields said...

I love to write in first person. I don't really have a preference when reading, but I am reading a book right now in omniscient, and it pulls me out of the story quite often because I think, "How can I know that? I'm not in that person's head." Just seems wrong to me, but I guess that's just what you're used to.

Jamie Burch said...

That's funny. I don't think your writing is old fashioned at all. Maybe because I like tight third person.

Eventually I'd like to try writing in first person.

Nicki Elson said...

I've had fun writing in all three---first, third limited, and third omniscient---and I think it totally depends on the story. I find first comes most naturally for short, but for novel length, I like third limited.

For reading...I'm up for just about anything that's written well. Third limited was perfect for Lady's Fate. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- I wrote part of a YA in first person, and I like the way it sounded, but put that aside to work on the Regencies. Yeah, I like omniscient too, if separated by chapter.

Bish -- Yeah, I think it depends on the story. Sometimes it just sounds better in first.

Patti -- Not for nothing, but good luck with that. Sounds very tricky indeed.

Alex -- Is it another science fiction? A trilogy perhaps?

Anne Gallagher said...

Ed -- First draft. I hear you. But you're right, you have to know what you do best in order to do it right.

Liza -- That sounds FASCINATING!! *hint hint*

Francine -- Omniscient is like being on a bus and hearing everyone. I like 3rd, and every once in awhile, 1st if the story's good.

Angie -- I hear you, it has become the thing to do. But at least I know I'm not really good at it.

Jamie -- Thanks. I didn't think it was really old-fashioned either but, she's an old friend.

Nicki -- Thanks, yeah, I like third limited for my Regencies, but I would so love to let Lady Olivia's POV fly! That would be so much fun.

Carol Kilgore said...

Love to read and write deep third person point of view. I'm not a fan of omniscient. And now that I've been reading so much deep third, I don't enjoy some the writers I used to like because they write quite distant third person.

DL Hammons said...

You already know the answer to that question. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

typically third, limited, but the last 2.5 novels were first. It's growing on me.
And yeah, omniscient is fun, but 3rd limited is fun because it's more challenging to figure out ways to get across all the characters info and personalities without being in their heads

Nicole Ducleroir said...

I write in limited third person, which is what I like to read, too. I have to admit, omniscient narration drives me up the wall. It's distracting and doesn't allow me to feel an intimate connection with any one character. I agree with you that it's nice to know what all the characters are thinking, but I advocate multiple POV where one character is chosen for each chapter or scene. That way the reader gets to know different characters and begins to "know" what they are thinking even in scenes where they are present by not the POV. Much more reader participation that way!

Angela M. said...

I think the genre plays a part in what POV to use. In romance, I prefer deep POV third person. I write that way, too, but not always just the two main characters.

I know someone will want to slap me, but I generally can't stand first person, especially present tense. There are exceptions, of course, depending on how well it's executed. A lot of thrillers I've read seem to do quite well written in an omniscient POV.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I would love to write something in first person someday. I often start stories that way, but I can't sustain them. Both my books are third person multiple POV.

And I know what you mean omniscient. When done well, it can be glorious to read.