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Old 05-11-2012, 12:14 AM   #31
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I don't think you're an oddball, but it's a reading preference.

I try to keep my options open, so it's more of how the author conveys their first/second/third- person narrative that convinces me rather than the perspective itself.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:54 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by darearkin View Post
Wait, since when do they write -that?- I'll admit it's not common that I seek out romance, I usually prefer it as a side-plot- but even then, I've found maybe one or two books, ever, with romance in them where the main char was male.
Harold Robbins Sidney Sheldon. It is always a side line the way I like it. Finding a new writter like this is proving difficult. Women writting about romance gawd sook sook cry cy, get my puke bucket. I like tough men and women.

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Old 05-11-2012, 04:43 AM   #33
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I've never had trouble with first person past tense, but first person present tense used to bug me a lot - enough that I put The Hunger Games down after two paragraphs because it was just so wrong.

And then I picked it up again (I'd bought it and paid for it and figured it's worth more of an effort than two paragraphs) and got sucked in, and read the trilogy, and then I read Divergent and a whole bunch of other modern YA dystopias - where first person present tense seems to be a contractual requirement these days, considering it's hard to find one not written like that - and then I ended up writing a story in first person present tense myself (much harder than one would think!)...

...and now I'm completely fine with it. More so than third person present tense, even.

I think it depends a lot on the book. Some stories would lose a lot of their impact if written in third person instead of first - or past tense instead of present. If the person and tense chosen actually fit the story being told, and if they're written well and consistently, I don't have a problem with either first or third.

As said above, at least first person narratives stay reasonably consistent. With third person, head-hopping is a real problem with many books, especially those written by less experienced authors (even those traditionally published and, I assume, edited).

I sometimes suspect some authors have been going for third person omniscient, but, lacking the skill (it's not an easy thing to do and as it's gone somewhat out of fashion, there aren't overly many well-written modern books to read in order to learn how to do it either), it ends up being head-hopping third person limited. (I should say I don't have a problem with the point of view changing from one character to another as long as it's done with chapter or scene changes; even the POV changing from one paragraph to another can work if done clearly - but I've seen the POV change within a paragraph and sometimes even within a sentence, which, well... no.)

So if it's a choice between an author using third person limited head-hopping or consistently written first person... I rather prefer first person.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:23 AM   #34
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I don't think that you are an oddball. Everyone has their preferences. I prefer the 1st person, but I don't mind the 3rd person at all. The 2nd person throws me off, though. It makes me feel like I'm reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:48 AM   #35
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I woudn't refuse to read a first-person narrative, but I think it's a more difficult type of writing and easier to get wrong. It's one of those Jemima things - when it's good, it's very, very good (just think how many of the classics are in first person, at least part of the time), but when it's bad, it's rubbish. Possibly because the reader is being asked to invest more - i.e. identify with the character - so when it goes wrong, it's somehow more personal too.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:05 AM   #36
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The most disappointing example of a first person narrative was one where the person telling the story died in the end.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:09 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyc View Post
I'm with Apache here. I can understand how some readers might not like it. Different strokes for different folks, eh? It's like 2nd person is almost never used, but one of my favorite stories is in 2nd person - "The Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang

http://marianaeggers.com/files/tiechang.pdf

and not only that it's in future tense. It's amazing.

for some strange reason, i could never get into 2nd person books. actually, i dislike them and don't read them. it's hard to explain why...it's like i want to be into the book, but not so much that my participation is implied by the 2nd person POV. Does that make sense?
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:22 AM   #38
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I think I have more of a problem with some instances of third-person than with any instance of first. If the viewpoint is too distant, too objective, I find it hard to care, and also if it leaps about at the drop of a paragraph.

I prefer to be close in to the character - seeing only what they see, and feeling what they feel - even in third-person, but I guess the advantage there is that you don't have to stick with the same character from section to section.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:28 AM   #39
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I used to detest (well, maybe that's a bit too strong) books written in 1st person, but I've learned to adapt. I guess for me, it largely depends upon two things: First, is the story well-served by a 1st person narrative; and second, is the writing style conducive to the format. I think that 1st person is difficult to do well and too many authors try ... and fail.

That being said, one of my absolute favorite series of all time are the Quiller novels by Adam Hall. They are told in 1st person, but a slightly odd version of 1st person narration. Usually, when we think of 1st person narration, we think of the narrator as telling us everything that he or she sees, hears, or thinks. No so with the narrator of the Quiller novels (whose name we don't know, even after 19 novels). Instead, he tells us only what he wants us to know and when he wants to know it. This can be very frustrating for new readers who expect a story to be told in a certain way but the technique allows Hall to add incredible suspense and surprises as his stories develop. By way of simple example, in one book (I can't recall which now), the narrator is going to be meeting another agent in some central European city. He arrives and begins describing the city as he walks its streets, noting shops and cars and people and such. Why is he walking around the city? What exactly is he doing? He doesn't really tell us. But then, he tells us that he turns a corner into an alley and grabs a guy by the throat and describes the fight that they have. Only then do we clearly understand that the narrator has been performing a series of techniques designed to see if he is being followed and to put himself in a position to gain an advantage against the man following him. Great stuff.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:43 AM   #40
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I think first person is very difficult to do well. I read a two-book series that had high fantasy elements, was pretty dark, and told in an intimate, first-person voice. I really liked both books in the series and I picked up a triology by the same author that wasn't nearly as good (and also first-person).

Personally, I kind of like first person because of how close you get to the main character and third person can jump around. As it happens, I have a theory that a great opening line is a sign of a great book and one of the all-time best opening lines is from a first-person book...

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."

However, we all have different tastes and that is not weird. It is what makes the world great.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:22 PM   #41
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Personally I hate fantasy books that try to be "more epic than though" in third person.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:41 PM   #42
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I like first person narratives, but..it will turn me off if the writer makes it a branding step by step - self absorbed commercial. lol "I put on my nike Xpensive Jordans and headed out the door to Starbucks for my macchiato, my rolex was saying it was 6:00 am blah blah blah" lol
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:42 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by AndrewH View Post
It depends on the book, but I prefer third person.

What really drives me up the wall, however, is present tense. I understand authors think it gives the story a feeling of immediacy, that the reader will feel the story is happening right now, but it's such an uncommon method of storytelling in English (I've been told it's the norm in other languages) that I find it incredibly distracting.

Combine first person with present tense and you have a book that is completely unreadable for me; e.g. The Hunger Games.

edit: No offense intended to those who liked The Hunger Games.
Lol, I agree 100%. I actually loved The Hunger Games, but physically reading it, drove me up a wall. I just got done reading "Swing Zone" which is a Sci-Fi title and it was really well written. I was skeptical at first since it is a new medium of fiction, but I bit the bullet, bought it, and actually really enjoyed it. Not too shabby.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #44
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Although I enjoyed Hunger Games, the present tense put me off at first. As to 1st person, I see its advantage as forcing the story to be more linear. There is no starting with an action involving character 1. Then action involving character 2, then 3 and so on until they all come together at some point. 1st person narrative can't do that very well. Flashbacks can work, though.

Linear story-telling is both a strength and a weakness depending on the story.

As a man, I do find it harder to follow a 1st person book from a woman's point of view. That said, I am now reading Outlander (1st book in series) and enjoying it.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:50 PM   #45
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I dislike 1st person books and have refused to read them in the past, but have had to adjust because more and more of the books that I pick up are in 1st person.
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