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I am not very familiar with "point of view". From my understanding, (correct if I'm wrong, but I looked it up so I think I'm right) 1st person is from the perspective of "I ate ice cream" sort of thing. 2nd person is "you eat ice cream," and 3rd person is "she eats ice cream."

I don't know which point of view is right for my book. I have written it in 1st person so far, but my genre is YA fantasy, and many books in that genre are 3rd person. If my book is too different, if/when I want to get published, this might be a barrier for me.

I have considered changing my point of view during editing, and I'm wondering if now I should. I'm just past my structural edit, so if I were to do it, now would be the time.

Should I change my point of view?

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  • I don't think this is a duplicate necessarily, but a similar question that may be helpful: writing.stackexchange.com/questions/25601/…
    – Sciborg
    Oct 5 '20 at 15:39
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    Note to @DWKraus' suggestion: If you decide to rewrite part of your story, make sure you keep the old version, too, so you can go back and compare which one is better.
    – Llewellyn
    Oct 5 '20 at 17:02
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Kudos for bravery:

Wow, I'm personally not sure that if I got the whole thing written 1st person, I 'd be able to handle completely changing perspective. Rewrite a chapter and see how it feels. I might also get my beta readers to read the chapter and give feedback about what they like. No right or wrong answers. I've read powerful stuff from both perspectives.

First person is really gripping and personal, but you are totally limited by the character's knowledge and perceptions. Third person is less personal, but you can access everything (omniscience) or try you keep it limited to what is going on around the character (limited omniscience). People sound strange revealing intimate details of themselves that an author can reveal impartially.

You'd need to change the story A LOT to take advantage of what 3rd person has to offer. On the other hand, I can't carry off 1st person myself, so I may be biased (if it's hard for me, it must be good!). You could try both (alternating chapters, almost like reading a journal that has been used as the basis for a book). Every other chapter, because shifting back and forth in a chapter would be too jarring for perspective. It could get you the best of both, but could be worst of both, too.

  • PS I'm totally agreeing with Llewellyn's suggestion. Data is free, so save every version of your story, even every edit. My editor dates saves so you can save a different copy every day, saving with the date in the title. Nothing gets lost.

It's very much a style choice. Good luck.

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After the book is read, no one really remembers what perspective it was written in. So perspective isn't necessarily important at all. Other aspects of your story are much more important.

However, there are a few differences.

The first-person perspective is the easiest for most beginning authors, however, it can only show what the POV character can see. If you have several plots with different people you can still do it in first-person, but it could become very complex and confusing with several different "I"'s in the story so in most cases first-person means one perspective.

The first-person perspective also helps to avoid head-hopping (too abrupt changes of POV-person in a scene).

The second-person perspective is very special and quite uncommon. It can, of course, only speak to a single second person (the reader), but I am willing to bet, people won't remember that your story was written even in this POV, but rather if it was a good story in all the other aspects or not.

The third-person perspective is the one preferred if you want to have many threads and show different events that a single person could possibly not cover. However, it also comes with the risk of head-hopping, if you decide to have more than one POV-character per scene.

For a study case, compare the book "The Hunger Games" with the movie. The movie, doing "third-person", can show things the book, being first-person, cannot. Which one is better? I'd say they are both good and they are both telling a good story, just a bit differently.

That being said (you probably don't have to change your POV) I've found doing it isn't that hard. It's more of a "shouldn't there be a script for this"-kind of exercise. It takes time and is boring, but once you get into the flow, it's pretty easy (unless you have several perspectives, then you'd have to cut parts away).

I've even done it a few times and found that it can breathe new life into the story and make you see it from a different perspective, so you could try and see what it shakes loose...

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    This answer is awesome. There is one thing I disagree with, though - I think perspective actually is very important. At least for some people. Not only does it have all the ins-and-outs to consider that have been listed above, but some people only like to read 3rd person books, or 1st person books. You also rarely ever see something written in second person. So do make this decision wisely.
    – Tasch
    Oct 6 '20 at 16:24
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Things that work well in a first-person POV:

  • Everything the reader needs to know is seen or done by a single character.
  • You want to use less formal language in the narrative.
  • You want to get into the main character's head.

If there are things the reader needs to know, but the viewpoint character either won't do them or won't see them, you can use some form of exposition to overcome this limitation, but if you find yourself having to write entire paragraphs to make this work, then you will probably be better off to employ the third-person POV.

Note that many stories could be told from either POV without substantially altering them. The Harry Potter series is an example of this; the overwhelming majority of the narrative is told from Harry's viewpoint, and so it could easily have been written from a first-person POV.

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First person works for YA.

Second person is arrogant and should be avoided.

Third person is by far the most common.

First person describes things as seen or done by/to the MC which is you telling the story of what happens.

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