Cynthia D'Alba

Why No First Person Love?

I love first person narrative. Love to read it. Love to write it, although I’ve published nothing in first person. And yet, within the reader community (and I include authors in the reader community since we were all readers first), there is a highly vocal segment who hate first person…some of them to the point that they won’t read it regardless of the author or the story. In fact, I’ve seen some contest judges send back entries UNJUDGED because the story is first person.

I don’t get it. Why such vitriol for this point of view?

I love first person. It’s like I’m having a personal conversation with an individual who is telling me a piece of gossip. It’s seems more intimate.

So are you are first person lover? Hater? I really want to hear from those who don’t like first person. Help me understand your point of view. What is about first person narrative that drives  you nuts?

Until next month, take care!

Cynthia D’Alba 
Texas Two Step – A Samhain Best Seller


10 thoughts on “Why No First Person Love?

  1. I LOVE first person. Sometime I enjoy getting both a hero and heroine’s perspective, but the books I make the deepest connection with are invariably the ones with first person POV.

    1. Sometimes it is fun to get both POV’s but by not having the hero’s POV and being in first person heroine, we are experiencing exactly what she is experiencing and feeling the same insecurity about their relationship. But what I don’t get is the verbal faction who HATE first person with a passion. I want to understand that.

  2. Hi Cyndi– Interesting. It doesn’t matter to me 1st, 3rd, so long as it’s well written. I’m still looking for a good 2nd just to see how it can work (any recommendations, anyone?). I think certain genres have reader expectations (YA and UF tend to have more first person, yes?) For my current series, I’m writing in first. The voice for my main character came more naturally in first. But showing other characters’ emotions, as well as what happens when the main character is not present, is trickier.

    1. Hi Jill. I have never read a second person POV. The one I think is hard is first person present tense. I remember reading one book that was so well done, I didn’t realize I was reading present tense until I was well into the book!

      1. Voirey, enjoyed reading your comment. It’s always fascinating to hear how other readers react to things. When it’s different from my reactions, it’s almost better because it’s a perspective I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. (Complete aside, I once mentioned on another post how I always read the author bio when I’m perusing books at the bookstore and another commenter was like, “Wow. Really?” Every reader’s habits are different. That’s probably why there are so many books. :-))

        In any case (sorry for long winded comment), had to look up second person novels. Apparently Bright Lights, Big City was one. Orson Scott Card’s Hart’s Hope another. And I forgot, small portions of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus is in second. I’ve definitely read YA in first person present tense that was so well done, after the initial – huh, wow! – I totally forgot about it and got lost in the story (Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races comes to mind. That was great too because each chapter alternated between the two MC’s and each was done in first person. Ha! That’s gotta be tough to pull off, but it come off brilliantly!)

        Okay, back to work. Thanks for awesome discussion! 🙂

  3. I’m not a fan of first person. I simply don’t find it as engaging as third. I don’t like being limited to one POV and I don’t like the feeling that I’m seeing the world through someone else’s filter. I really have to be hooked in the first few pages or I won’t finish the book.

    I have read some very good books in first person, but they are very few and far between. I’ve also been disappointed by some of my favorite authors who have done new series in first. A wonderful third person voice doesn’t always carry over into first person.

    Present tense? No. I can only think of one author in first present I would read. Most first present grates on my nerves. It’s simply not for me.

    Jill, I can’t think of any adult books in second. the only second person books that come to my mind at all are the Choose Your Own Adventure series books (loved those). I’d certainly be interested in checking out any you can name, if only to get a feel for the voice.

  4. I love first person, both as a reader and writer. It puts me in the story. All my favorite authors write in first and they seem to do so well, best sellers one and all. I’ve never understood the issue and never will.

  5. I love it first person too. If it’s well written, I get more invested in the character and his/her struggle. I cheer and weep for them as if they are my best friend. Third person is great too. But I really, really, don’t like those jumping third person books where the POV changes each chapter and is distributed over six or more characters. It’s too much diversification and I loose contact and interest quickly.

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