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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Author Insight: Who's telling this story?

How do you decide what point-of-view (POV) 
you want to tell a story in?

"The POV usually comes to me along with the story idea. When writing in multiple POVs, I sometimes make the decision to cut out POVs that don't seem to add anything to the story." - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"Whoever is the first character that comes to mind is usually the protagonist. In my current novel, I use three protagonists to share their individual POVs. First person comes very naturally in a teen voice and I have to admit I enjoy it more." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All the Stupid Things.

"Ethan's voice came to us early on in Beautiful Creatures. We knew we wanted to write from a boy's POV, and when Ethan started to tell his story, it was in first person. I think you have to decide the POV based on the story, and the voice that will be telling it." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"I am a very character-driven writer, so typically the characters start speaking to me and drive me to start thinking about their stories. For most of my novels—both published and unpublished—that has meant that I write in the 1st person. Although for some reason when I write middle-grade fiction I tend to write in the 3rd person. I’m not sure why—I think it’s because all of the middle-grade I love is written in the 3rd person." - Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall.

"Lately, I start everything in 1st, so I can get as close to the main character as possible. Over time, that POV may shift, but 1st is a good way to get into the character’s head and get moving." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Since I write in first person, that limits me to only one POV character. (I used to write in 3rd with a handful of POVs, because I thought I couldn't write 1st person, but I love getting to focus on just one character instead.) Usually my ideas start with a character I'd like to write about, so the story builds around them, and that makes it easy." - Chelsea Campbell, author of Rise of Renegade X.

"My characters (you know…the ones that live in my head) decide. You’d think that means the pushiest would get the lead, but that’s not always true. In my case, it seems to turn out to be the ones with the most to hide. They want to be in control to be sure their secrets are safe." - Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons.

"This is one area of writing where I don't really feel like I decide. I usually start thinking about a character first, before anything else, so whatever POV fits the character, that's the POV I pick. I usually write in either first-person past or first-person present, but third-person past has been a good option for certain kinds of stories--usually stories with a more detached protagonist, or where the POV cycles through a number of characters." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"It’s pretty much how the character’s voice comes to me, though I’m probably the most comfortable in the first person past tense. My characters do a lot of internal processing, which I think would be a challenge in 3rd person. If the voice demanded it, I’d go there." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"So far I’ve only actually written in first person. I’m always mistaking the main character for myself and tend to accidentally call her 'I' when I’m talking about her." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"I always start with first person point of view. It helps me really get into the character's head." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"Good question. With Forget-Her-Nots, I wanted to have very descriptive passages about the gardens, which would have been a challenge in a strict first person. Instead, it’s third person limited, which means it’s from one character’s POV, but there’s more of a narrator’s voice too. Melissa Marr also writes in third person limited, and she was a definite writing inspiration for me." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

"I’m not sure I’ve ever given it a lot of thought. I’ve almost always written in third-person, including in The Body Finder. However, I recently completeled a YA manuscript in first-person, and I kinda loved it. Honestly, I’m not sure I have a favorite, though, there are things I really liked about each of them." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder.

"The characters tell me--it's not my decision. ;-)" - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"I decide what position I want my reader in. If I want my reader up close and personal, I choose first. If I need a little distance so the story can be better told, I'll use 3rd." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"It all depends on who's talking when I start the project. How did I think of the story? Did a character tell me something? Right now I'm lingering in 1st person present tense, because the characters I'm working with initiated the stories that way, and because most of the time the stories have an urgency or immediacy that calls for it." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

Come back Thursday to find out how our other authors choose a point-of-view!

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