Sometimes, I finish a book and I lean back… suddenly aware of the fact that I am, in fact, NOT the character I was immersed in through the pages.
In my opinion, that’s one of the most rewarding things about an exceptional book. I get to *feel* like the character.
So how does an author accomplish it? One of the many tools under our belt is “Point of View” or POV.
I think it’s very interesting to study how POV has evolved over the years. Take Pride and Prejudice. The narrator of the story isn’t any particular character. Instead, it is an omniscient narrator who knows every character’s thoughts and actions, no matter the situation. This narrator is telling the story, dropping information and thoughts from all characters wherever they choose.
You won’t find many books written that way these days. As an author, sometimes we do it by accident and get dinged for “head-hopping!”
More commonly, modern authors write (and readers prefer) a few different options. So, I’m going to walk through them (and give a few CCR examples in each!)
Third Person Limited (Dual narrator) — Perhaps the most common POV in romance over the last fifty years. The narrator generally lives in the head of one character at a time. Therefore, the reader knows what that character knows, sees what they see, and feels what they feel. But things out of their sight, motives of another character in the conversation…. it all remains a mystery. I recommend: Blackwater Ranch series by Mandi Blake, Seaside Chapel series by Jan Thompson, Cavanagh Cowboys Series by Valerie Comer, Love off Limits Series by Hannah Jo Abbott, and my own Bloom Sisters Series all fall into this category.
Third Person Limited (Single narrator) — I had a hard time coming up with examples for this! Probably most books written in this POV these days would lean toward Women’s fiction, instead of romance. If you have a suggestion though, drop it in the comments.
The thing about Third Person narration is that depending on the techniques, the reader can feel distant from the character, or very, very close — sometimes called “Deep” Third POV, if you want to know the lingo authors and editors use :)
But if we want to talk about feeling close to the character, first person point-of-view definitely has to be discussed!
To me, it feels like first person stories are everywhere these. It used to be they were limited to young adult books, or the occasional science fiction or literary fiction. I can’t remember reading a romance in first person until the last 10 years or so. But it seems like first person POV is here to stay.
I’ll admit… It’s not my first choice. I can’t explain why exactly. But many times when I finish a first person POV novel, I realize that I really enjoyed it! I think my hesitation comes from some poor experiences with first person books where I didn’t feel close to the character. In fact, I felt like I was reading a diary entry. “I went here. I felt like this. It was hot.” Just… ugh.
But when it is done well — it can be so, so fun to be *really* inside the head of the character, walking in their shoes! Here are few recommendations if you are looking for more first person romances!
In fact, I’ve been reading so many wonderful First Person books lately… I’ve decided to try it out myself. I’m writing The One Who Got Away, the first book in my Second Chance Fire Station in dual first-person POV. Sometimes, I slip back into third person (he/she/they instead of I/we), but it’s been fun to play!
Check out the new blurb for TOWGA from a 1st person POV:
The relationship is fake. But the sparks are real.
Can these best friends rekindle a second chance at first love? Or will they both end up burned?
Right here at the Minden Fire Department is exactly where I belong. But when I became Captain Storm, apparently it meant I needed a wife. Or at least, that’s what my mom’s friends think.
When Krystal comes back to town, I don’t know what to think. She was my best friend in high school. Okay, fine. The truth is I loved her–as much as any eighteen-year-old kid could have. I think she loved me, too.
But she left anyway.
I really do understand why. She had dreams to chase in Hollywood. How could I deny her that?
She’s here now, though. For eight weeks. And she’s taking over the fire department charity auction while her mom recovers from her fall, which means working with me.
I know we’re just friends. She’s going back to LA after the auction, but maybe her presence could get my mom’s friends off my back for a minute. We’ll just let people assume there is more to our friendship… No harm, no foul. I really could use the break from my personal matchmakers’ attention.
And I won’t say no to a little extra time with Krystal. I’m probably torturing myself. Friends is all we’ll ever be. Even a fake relationship can’t change the fact that she was The One Who Got Away.
If you really feel like comparing… I haven’t updated the blurb on Amazon, so it is still in third person!
What about you? Do you like first person stories? How about one narrator or two?