RSS Feed Print
POV in fantasy
Maya Starling
Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 5:14 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

Which POV is prefered in Fantasy Genre and which heavily frowned upon?

Since I'm relatively new to writing and didn't have any opportunities for real creative writing workshops (I'm from Croatia), I'm a bit lost on this subject, between Third, Omniscient Limited and just Omniscient and how different the last one is from head hopping?
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:15 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

This is a pretty complex question, but I'll take a stab at it (you can also go down to the bottom of my response to see a blog post that covers some of this stuff too.)

But, There are more POV types than third, omniscient limited, and omniscient.

First person is perfectly acceptable, but often frowned at for epic fantasies -- it's less common than third, but if done well, works well with the fantasy genre.

Second should only be reserved for a choose your own adventure book, and truth be told, I'm not very fond of this point of view type.

Omniscient is head hopping. It's an anything goes POV type, in my opinion. Omniscient limited is just being closer to the POV type you're in at any point in time. As a general rule, I dislike the use of omniscient since it is confusing to read more often than not.

Multi-Character Third person limited, however, is a totally different beast than omniscient. This is when you have a limited third point of view in one scene, but you have multiple POV characters. This is NOT omniscient as most people think of it. Why? You have one point of view in each scene, section, or chapter. The POV shifts are noted by a break or a switch of scenes.

Omniscient is often viewed as head hopping (and is head hopping) because the shifts between the POVs happen at the writer's will within a scene.

Personally, I tend to walk away from omniscient stories because most writers aren't skilled enough to handle it. There are very, very few people who are, however, and the things they can do with it is really amazing.

As for the type preferred? Well, that's dependent on who you ask.

Don't just take my word for it.

I wrote a blog post about points of view and generally writing to engage the reader, which you can look at here: http://rjblain.com/2013/01/writer-resource-writing-to-engage/
C M Rosens
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:53 PM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25

Oh dear... well, mine is technically omniscient as the narrator is, well, actually omniscient. So it's also 1st person. And it's epic fantasy. Except that She's telling the story to a chronicler and so interjects with second person. Um. I've been told by most of my readers that it really works well, and those who get confused seem generally to be the younger YA readers who only expect to read 1st or limited 3rd, which is why I've moved over to Book Country!

I think experimentation is what writing is about. If it's a failure, it's a failure. If it works, do it again! It's really about what level you're at and how you handle your material. What you may not be able to handle right now, you may well get a best seller from in five or ten years time... it just depends on how you evolve and grow.

Maya Starling
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 11:25 AM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

Bump for some more insight and opinion...

Oh.. and I agree CM. I think we as a writers need to step out of the box a bit and challange ourselves to try things a bit different. If it works, great, if not, it'a a new lesson learned.

I noticed I don't mind the headhopping muchm as long as it's smoothly done.

I just don't like that we feel constricted by the publishing standards, that we fear doing things differently in case of being rejected, even though the readers like it.
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 11:40 PM
Right now I'm editing a book where the author has it that everyone has a POV. It's driving me nuts. The readers even get to see what the maitre d' at the restaurant is thinking. I don't think that's necessary. I don't mind multiple POVs. I do mind when every single person has a POV.

Having said that.

The YA/paranormal I'm working on now is written first person. It's the first I've ever tried and was daunting at first.

Otherwise I prefer limited third, which is what all of the rest of my writing is done in. And it's hard limited. The readers never know anything or are given hints to anything that the MCs don't know.

Maya Starling
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 8:50 AM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

Only thinking about reading everyone's POVs sounds confusing.

What's the most populars POV out there. I have a feeling it's third limited but YA has a lot of first person.
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 1:59 PM
In a story, do we need to have everyone's POV? This piece I'm editing - we get the POV of everyone the MCs run into. I don't need to know what the cab driver is thinking or even who he is. He's not important to the story. He's a cab driver! We'll never see him again or hear from him again.

Maya Starling
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:06 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

I understand your despair Mari!
Kate Tay
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:17 PM
Joined: 4/30/2013
Posts: 1

Personally, I think all POV are popular. Everyone is going to have their preferences which is why it is extremely difficult to write a story or novel that will fit to everyone's perspective. It's difficult but not impossible, but I believe whole-heartedly that it doesn't matter which POV you use as long as it tells the story properly.

That being said, I also have a theory that authors will work with whatever POV they feel more comfortable writing with. For me, it's Third Person, Limited though I do tend to walk the border-lines with omniscient narratives as well.

That doesn't mean that every author isn't going to write using 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person. The choice is entirely up to you in the end =] 
Ben Nemec
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 10:03 PM
Joined: 1/21/2013
Posts: 47

Ooh, and don't forget the different tenses.  First person present vs. past and such.

I will admit that I shied away from first person books for a while, mostly because almost everything I had read was in third person and I kind of abhor change.  Historically, I tend to re-read books that I know are good instead of seeking out new ones.  I'm working on changing that (even though it has resulted in me reading some truly horrendous books recently), but the reason I bring it up is that I would now call myself a fan of first person narratives, and in fact when I started rewriting my book I did it in first person.

Of course, I've read terrible first person books too.  As I mentioned in another post a little while ago, it's all about execution.  I've heard it said that first person present tense can't work, yet that's how the Hunger Games are written and I think most of us could be content with that level of success.


Jump to different Forum...