Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.


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Reading and Writing 1st person point of view–yes or no?

I’ve written two novels based largely on journal entries. The first one, ‘Inheritance’, starts with the main character written from the third person point of view, but changes, when she finds a diary, to that character’s view point, obviously in the first person POV.

More recently I wrote another novel almost entirely as a journal, so almost entirely from the first person POV, ‘Her Flesh and Blood’, due out soon. I think this was the best way to tell that particular story because readers will have their own opinions about what she writes in her journal and will also have knowledge that she doesn’t. I particularly enjoy playing around with the idea of the ‘naive narrator’.

My question is, do you, as readers or as writers, like books written from the 1st person point of view? I’ve just finished the first draft of another novel, a rural romance, which I started as third person and fully intended to continue in that POV. Then, several thousand words in, I got bored with the whole thing and I realised I had trouble relating to the protagonist. I decided to change the POV to 1st person and found the words flowed much easier.

I have to confess though, as a reader, I’ve tended to avoid first person narratives unless they came with a very good recommendation. A writer friend has told me readers, and therefore publishers, don’t like them.

I have no intention of re-writing the book I’ve just finished but I’m wondering if I’ve fallen into something of a bad habit. Should I make more effort next time around to write from the 3rd person point of view or just go with what seems appropriate to tell the story?

My children’s book, ‘Beast of War’ (All third person POV!) is free on Amazon the 23rd and 24th July. It’s only around 30,000 words and if you have any spare time reviews would be appreciated.