I'm the sixth person from the left--Just Kidding. This fabulous image is by James Cridland and I found it on Flickr. Click the image for more of his work.

First of all: Do not adjust your computer.  I was playing with the blog’s appearance.  Let me know how you like the new look!

Now, down to business: They say that every part of the book you write is a choice.  Each word choice sets the tone.  The setting helps to create a mood.  Even the title draws a reader in.  So how do you go about choosing what point of view to use?

My choices are narrowed down to two.  I don’t write in the second person, where the reader is considered the main character in a book.  Good examples of this are those CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE books.  And in this case it serves a purpose.  The reader makes decisions in each book and decides where the story is going to go.  Second person is a logical choice.  I also don’t use the omniscient point of view.  I would like to say that I don’t use it because I don’t like the distance it creates between the reader and the characters.  The reality is that it’s hard for me to achieve without being confusing.  You can be in anyone’s head at any time.  Masters, like Charles Dickens can make it work in A TALE OF TWO CITIES, but I, unfortunately, haven’t figured it out yet.

This leaves the first and third person limited points of view.  I’ve dabbled in both.

The first book that I wrote, the one that still sits lonely in a drawer (and on my hard drive) was written in the third person.  I had the hardest time with this manuscript.  It didn’t seem to have any voice.  The narration was flat.  I tried playing with point of view shifts.  That made it worse and I couldn’t figure out why.

In my second manuscript, the one that got a little bit of play with agents was written in the first person.  The first several drafts of the first chapter were written in the third person.  I just couldn’t make it work.  It was the same problem: no voice, no flair, too flat.  So, after a whole bunch of frustration, I started writing from the point of view of my main character, Eve.

It wasn’t supposed to be more than a writing exercise but I got writing magic.

The voice popped.  I knew it the second I started putting Eve’s words on the page.  It was worth foregoing point of view shifts (I don’t really like it when the first person point of view shifts, even though Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyers have done it in highly successful books) to get the rock-solid voice.  Plus, when I look back on it, it made logical sense.  The story was Eve’s; it really shouldn’t leave her point of view.

For six months after I finished this manuscript, the successful first person point of view ruined me.  I had trouble writing any other way and I had serious trouble leaving Eve’s voice behind.  I was beginning to wonder if I had any other voice in me.  Therefore, recently (as in, this month), I decided to try third person again.

Ta-dah !

I found a third person voice.  It’s completely different from the Eve-voice and again makes sense for the story I’m trying to tell.  This story is darker.  It’s creepy.  I want there to be a level of uncertainty about whether or not my main character will make it to the end of the book.  If the voice holds up through the end of the book, I’ll call it more writing magic.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

So, how about you?  What type of point of view do you favor?  Have you tried more than one?  Do you have any tips or hints for people struggling with choosing a point of view or making a specific one work?