Friday, October 7, 2011

Switching POV

Last week I was at a complete standstill in the writing world. I often find this problem when I begin querying. I feel like I've lost myself and it takes a bit to find me and get back to action.

Everyone knows I have an idea bucket. When a seed is planted in my head, I love to write it down and keep it safely tucked in my idea bucket for a later day. After all those ideas don't stay locked up in the brain forever.

Now most of you know I've written six novels in the year and a half I've been blogging. Four of them were young adult and the other two were Chick lit. Switching my genre showed me I'd finally found my place in the big world of writing and feel safe and secure in my choice.

However, it then got me wondering. When an agent represents you and you've made your money in one genre, they often like you to keep within that genre. Now, I know they're not against you switching, but if they don't rep it, chances are you'll be thrown back in agent waters all over again.

It got me thinking if switching point of views was the same way. What if one was used to reading your work in first person. Would they be open to you switching to third person? What if it remained in the same genre?

What? You expected me to answer? This one is really open to my fellow bloggers and writers. How big of a difference is it if you switching POV's because you  know it'll make the story that much stronger? Will agents still want that book? Are they more based on your story telling and personality versus how the story is actually told?

28 comments:

Meika said...

I've actually wondered this, too. Third Person was my default POV until this last project and I've found I love writing in First. I think which POV you choose depends on the story. My most recent WiP works best in first while I think my last one works best in Third. I know, not any help! Hopefully others will weigh in with something useful!

Alison Stevens said...

I can't speak for agents, but I would guess that they'll want the POV that works best for the story. I remember someone recommending Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief books for a great example of how to use POV--she uses both first and third in her series, changing depending on what suits each individual story best.

Jessica Bell said...

POV switching really isn't that much of a big deal, as long as you keep the reader hooked. That's all that really matters.

Laura Marcella said...

I think the POV you choose is the one that works best with the story. I've read accounts from other bloggers who switched POVs in the midst of agent revisions and the agents were okay with it and even thought it better.

As a reader, I'm open to authors writing in various POVs. I don't think I've ever associated an author with a specific POV because authors tend to change it up depending on the story and characters.

Good luck and happy writing, Jen!!!

Sarah Darlington said...

I don't think they're really mind much. If it were books in a series, maybe.

I can't believe you've written 6 books...that's amazing. I haven't written one in that time. :) That's great. What's your secret?

Slamdunk said...

I think it would be difficult if it was a series and your audience had expectations, but I am all for authors exploring new things.

Lynn said...

I like to switch up POV's while writing, and even tenses, to see if it makes the story stronger. It also helps refresh a story. As a reader, I have never associated an author with POV. I've even read teen series where the author switches the POV and it works very well! I say go with the POV that works for you, the writer, and your story will shine.

Mandy said...

Hi Jen!

First time visitor here, but I'll be back!! Much like the terminator, lol


I'm gonna add my voice. It's what is best for the story. What is honest and true for the character. I would think an agent would agree, but then again, I'm not one, so I can only speculate :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have no idea. I haven't seen too many authors that switched though.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I don't think it matters as much as writing in different genres. Readers want to read a good story, regardless of the POV. As long as the POV fits the story, that's all that matters.

Talli Roland said...

I don't think it matters - I know lots of authors who switch back and forth. Happy Friday!

jenniefire said...

That is tough question so I'm just going with what everyone else said :)

Ed said...

Too confusing.

It's like Bob Dole giving a speech.

One minute its, "I this, I that", and the next is "Bob Dole says tabacco is safe" or "Bob Dole can fix the economy."

Granted, that reference is dated. I'm not even sure that dude is still alive.

My point is valid though.

Ann said...

I would think the POV that suits the story is the more important issue. Glad to here you have found your nitch. Have a wonderful weekend.

Matthew MacNish said...

I've never had an agent, but I can't imagine them caring that much a bout POV. I have heard stories of agent and writers parting ways over genre though.

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi, I assume you're asking about switching POV from one story to another. My first reaction is to say it doesn't matter, but are all the books in a series? All of Sue Grafton's A-Z novels are first person; if, when she got to Z, she switched to third person, it would seem odd. Usually, though, I would think that changing POV would show creative range on your part. It wouldn't put me off at all.

Brinda said...

I hope the answer is that a writer should do what is right for the book. I also have a desire to use different POV without readers expected a certain thing from me. Great post!

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't think a pov switch would be a problem. The voice would be similar despite the switch so it should be fine :)

Donna Hole said...

I can't imagine switching POVs with each novel to be as consequential as switching agents with genre's. POV is a product of tone and voice and is specific to the story.

I usually only write a close 3rd, but sometimes the story calls for something else. As a reader, I don't get hung up on pov with any author - as long as the story is written well.

........dhole

Melodie Wright said...

I have NO idea what agents/editors think but I bet they read the story as a reader first. Bc that's what they are - YOUR reader. So I'm guessing that what works for you will work for them if it serves the story.

Doreen McGettigan said...

I say whatever works for the story is the best way to tell the story...

http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

Nancy Thompson said...

I think the POV question depends on the genre. Take YA, for instance. I think YA lends itself best to first person and agents know and kind of expect it these days. Then there's the adult thriller. While most are written in 3rd, Greg Iles, one the best writers of adult psychological thrillers, has written most of his 13 published books in 1st. He has broken this up and written in 1st AND 3rd or just 3rd. I find that I like his 1st person stories best and am a bit disappointed when reading in his chapters or most especially, an entire book in 3rd. So yes, an author's readers DO become accustomed to the writer's typical POV of choice, and then so therefore would that writer's agent.

Laura said...

I've read several chick-lit authors who switch POV between books, and I don't think agents mind this as long as it is working for the plot and it is very much a "Jen Daiker" novel. I think staying within the same genre is super important though ... although of course, a quick change of name can mean you can be working within two at once... Sophie Kinsella / Madelein Wickham come to mind
Lx

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

wow, good question. I've never actually given that much thought. I hope it doesn't matter, because i switch POVs depending on the novel

Leslie Rose said...

I jump all over the map when I write. Genre switches. POV switches. Hopefully I'll connect with an agent who like variety. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a new follower here.

alexia said...

I've written in third and first, and think it depends on the book. So, I would think a good agent would realize this and stick with their client for either, as long as whichever POV they chose was right for the book, and the book was otherwise wonderful.

Amy Saia said...

I think it can work. If you feel natural doing it then you shouldn't change until an agent tells you to specifically--I would guess. Lots of things gets changed in editing anyway : )~

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Interesting thought. I do think if it's a series, it needs to stay the same. But, just like finding the right genre, you have to find the right voice for each book in that genre. I'm totally enamored with first person (reading and writing it). I just finished a historical fiction novel in first person, and it was difficult at times! It's so hard to SHOW and not TELL when you're in first person in a completely unfamiliar time period.

But I think the key is finding that perfect GENRE fit. No, I don't want to be stuck in a box; however, I just want to see where my writing style best fits. I'm sure it was the same for you with the YA and chick lit--which do you prefer? Have you thought about other genres?