Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Megan Hart GuestBlog: Get Inside My Mind

Contest!!! One LCB wins an autographed ARC of “Broken,” and assorted goodies courtesy of Megan Hart!

When I read Megan Hart’s new Spice release, “Dirty,” I was stunned. Here was an erotic story of a woman who’d experienced lots of sex with many, many different men, yet Hart made me understand that it didn’t happen in a vacuum. The heroine of the story wasn’t simply a liberated woman, sowing her oats, or gettin’ a little sumthin sumthin just like the boys. You know, the one-handed read erotica rational.

Nope, in "Dirty," Hart creates a love story that's also a life story -- as poignant as it is erotic. Plus, it's got the sammich to end all sammiches. Please, Bellas, a hot n'steamy buongiorno for Megan...

I had a dilemma recently, and sadly it wasn’t whether to accept Keanu’s offer of a weekend away in the Bahamas or stay home and do laundry. No, it was something a little deeper than that. First person point of view, or third?

I’ll be honest. I love writing in first person. I usually like reading in first person, too, if it’s done well. It’s a little hard to suspend my disbelief sometimes in mystery or thrillers written in first person – after all, if something really really bad happens to the point of view character there’d be no more story. But in erotic or deeply emotional fiction? Yeah, get me inside that character’s head.

In first person I don’t just tell you how my character’s feeling. I can make you live it. I can, if I’m good enough, make you do more than believe it. I can make you be it.

There are restrictions to first person pov, and a lot of readers don’t like books written in it for that reason. A limited viewpoint means you don’t get to know what any of the other characters are thinking or feeling other than how they express themselves to the pov character. You don’t get to hear the hero thinking how much he loves the heroine unless he says it aloud. The reader, like the heroine, has to guess how he feels from his words and actions instead of his thoughts.

Hey, what do you know? Just like real life. (Unless you’re a telepath, in which none of this applies to you.)

I know there are reasons why some don’t care for first person pov, and I understand them. I really do. And I don’t disagree with the reasons I just don’t feel the same way.

So, if I love to read and write in first person, what was my dilemma? My first novel for Spice, DIRTY, is in first person. My second, BROKEN (May 2007) is also. I thought the third, PERFECT (2008) would be in third but Anne surprised me by coming to life with her own unique voice, and it came out in first person, too.

When I started my fourth novel for Spice, CATCH AND RELEASE, I had every intention of writing it in third person. I didn’t want to alienate those readers who really hate first. I didn’t want to become “typecast,” if you will, as an author who only writes in first person. (Not true, since I’ve had more than 30 published releases and 28 of them are written in third person.) I didn’t want to miss a group of readers who might pass up my books because they can’t stand first person. I had a whole bunch of reasons for writing that book in third, but halfway through the first love scene, out popped first. Suddenly, writing became like oil, smooth and easy. No more fumbling for the words, the emotions, the triggers of my main character, Grace. True, I wasn’t in Sam’s head, but then, neither was she. As she learned more about him, so did I. So will the reader. Catch and Release came out in first person, except for most of the first chapter.

When I began edits, I needed to decide which was better. I could convert everything I’d written to third. I had a sample of what it would be like. I shared two first chapters, one in first and one in third. I couldn’t decide which was best.

Again, I was back to the dilemma. If I put this book out in first, was I going to get labeled? Would I lose readers because of it? Would the book be better with more distance or other viewpoints? Would I always have to write in first person for THE REST OF MY LIIIIIIIIFE!?!

What I finally decided (after some nice comments from my test readers, who said they liked the version in first better…well, almost of all of them did except for the one who admits she just doesn’t like first) was to edit and finish the book how it worked best for me. First person point of view, baby.

To those who hate first person, I apologize. I tried to please ya. And as for being labeled a first-person author, well, I guess that wouldn’t be so bad.

After all, I really like it.

Readers, why do you like or dislike first person point of view?
Have you ever read a book that changed your mind?
Do you like it better in one genre than another? Or worse?

Thanks for having me here!

Megan

Visit Megan at MeganHart.com !

68 comments:

CrankyOtter said...

I like good stories that are told well in any point of view. Consistency in POV is more important to me than first or third. If you're going to head hop, you really have to make it worth it, or make it very clear and unsurprising when it happens. There are very few novels I can stand any more that head hop. But first or third I like just fine.

I wouldn't even mind if you did 2 character first person if the break is clean between them. It would be fine for a romance, I think, although I can't think of an example.

I've heard good stuff about "Dirty", I'll have to make a bigger effort to check it out. I'm a big proponent of women in romances being allowed to have multiple partners without getting the smackdown. The "I only had 2 lovers before you and they were both bad so I was appropriately punished" backstory should go the way of the dodo. any.time.now.

Portia Da Costa said...

This isn't really a proper answer to your questions as I'm a reader *and* an author and I'm totally schizo about first person!

At one time I actively hated to read first person novels, and unless I really, really loved the author, I would put a first person book back on the shelf, and would be disappointed if I received a book from Amazon or wherever that I hadn't realised was a first person story at the time of ordering...

However, as an author, I had written some short stories in first person because the character just 'spoke' to me that way, although I still would never have considered it for a novel.

Then I was recommended to read a certain novel that was in first person and despite my qualms, something about it captured my imagination... and I suddenly thought, hey, why don't I try this? I'm sure I can do it just as well...

So I did... and it was a real lightbulb experience. Suddenly, it all clicked and the story just flowed and flowed in first [first present even... and I hated that the worst!] in a way I don't think it would ever have done in third. I was right inside my heroine's life... Luckily, my editor liked the new voice, and this led to my book Entertaining Mr Stone being published, and another, Suite Seventeen, being due soon. Although I've since mainly switched back to third person for the time being, I still wouldn't hesitate to try something else in first if it felt right for the story. And I also think that doing quite a bit of writing in first has helped me make my third person writing more immediate too.

But you know what the weirdest thing of all is? When I'm choosing books for my own reading I do read more first person fiction now, but *still* tend to go for more stories in third person!

How crazy is that?

I must own up that I've not yet read anything of yours, Megan... but I'll certainly rectify that ommission. :)

love

WendyPortia

Laurie said...

Hi Megan,
I love Linda Howard's books and she writes mostly in first person POV. One of my favorites is "White Lies" where she writes everything down via a diary format...you feel everything via her perspective as it happens. First person can be a very intimate,intense experience!!
Your books sound interesting!

Stacy~ said...

Hi Megan! I first heard about you when Michelle mentioned your book a few months back and I was intrigued, though I still haven't read it. I'll admit, it didn't sound like my type of book, in fact it sounded a bit too intimidating, but the more I hear the buzz about it, the more curious I am. Plus, I believe it's a good thing for a reader to go outside of their comfort zone every once in awhile and explore what else is out there, whether just to see if there are other types of stories interest them or just to stop always playing it safe. Your book sounds like just the thing, and I have already put it on my tbb list.

You know, I don't mind first person POV at all. I like the intimacy of it. I think some stories are better because of it. I know there are readers who want to know what the hero is thinking so they don't enjoy 1st p, and usually because readers glom onto the hero more than the heroine, but I like to get a personal sense of the heroine (or the protagonist) and see inside her mind. It's like I'm right there, watching, and to know how she feels in a particular moment is extremely powerful.

The success of 1st p is all in the telling, so it can't be a sloppy job. It has to come across as honest and believable or it to work.

Gram said...

Hi,
First person is fine as long as the story is interesting and the writing is good, as yours is. The story and the writing are what counts with me.
Thanks for visiting today.

Theresa N. said...

I don't think I have a set in stone
opinion either way. I have read books in a third person and wished it was in the first or the first and wished it was in the third. I guess with me it all depends on the story.

AuthorM said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for the comments so bright and early. :) *waves*

I packed my kids off to school, have armed myself with my Diet Coke with Splenda and I'm at my keyboard ready to face the day.

crankyotter: one of the best pieces of advice a crit partner ever gave me was "Don't head hop." I know there are people who don't mind it, but...GAH!!! Please, one point of view at a time. The only thing worse for me than head hopping is NO pov at all. I'm reading a book right now (horror genre) and the pov is all over the place. It's more than head hopping it's a general lack of any one person's point of view. It's really distracting me.

M

AuthorM said...

WendyPortia -- The first "book" I ever wrote was in first, but I'd written lots of short stories in third, so I sort of naturally have switched back and forth between them since I started writing. It's only been over the past year that I found myself really focusing on first person, and it's just the way the stories want to come out. And hey, no worries on the not reading me thing. :) To the reading world ad large, I'm brand-new, though I've been publishing with Amber Quill Press electronically for years!

M

AuthorM said...

laurie and stacy --

I really do think first person lends itself to intimacy so very well. I must confess, I like to read and write love scenes in first person because of how close inside the emotions it allows me to be!

Stacy...I think it's good to stretch your comfort zone! I try to read lots of different types of books, and some surprise me while others really don't work for me, but I figure if I'm reading with an open mind about it, hey, at least I tried. Life's too short to actively seek things you don't like, but how do you know you won't like it if you don't try it?

Can you tell I'm a mom! Haha!

So if you give Dirty a try, I'll be really interested in what you thought of it. If it worked for you, if you might read more like it, or if it's just not your cup of tea. Drop me a line and let me know!

M

AuthorM said...

gram and theresa -- I've read books I thought would be better in first, but I can't think of any that were in first I thought would work in third.

Now that I think about it, I really don't want to notice the pov. If the book's working for me, I don't want to be thinking, hey, this is in third. I guess if I'm hung up on whose head I'm in, the story is faltering somehow.

Does that dispute my whole post!? LOL -- Nah...I love reading/writing in first, but I don't want to be THINKING "Hey, this is in first." I want to be thinking "Hey, this is a great book."

Actually, I don't want to be thinking anything, I want to be laughing, crying, or sighing.
M

AuthorM said...

And also, many thanks to Michelle for having me here today, and thanks so much for your kind words about Dirty!

M

Misty said...

Hey Megan!

Dirty was one of the very best books I have ever read and I truly mean that. It had everything and was so well written I didn't notice anything but the story.

I personally write in first. I've written some in third, but I like the intimacy of first much better. I understand the limitations but I like to find out things about the heroine's world and those around her as she does and see it through her eyes.

You did a great job of that in Dirty. But I love all your 30 books (which are sitting on my shelf here at home, well read and well loved), so I look forward with huge anticipation to getting my Pre-Ordered copy of Broken :)

For anyone who hasn't picked up Dirty, or hasn't made the decision to go get it - DO IT! It's touching, poignant, lovely and a very satisfying read. Run to the bookstore or hop on over to an online one. Seriously.

And no Megan did not pay me to post. Yet. LOL.

Misty said...

And FWIW - that picture above with the book is HOT!

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome to RBTB, Megan!

I'm a reader who doesn't normally care for first person reads. I was completely anti until I read a gothic romance and that was completely in the heroine's pov. I was hooked.
Now I must add that although I don't avoid first person books as I once did, I don't go out of my way to find them either.
I guess my point is, as it is with any book, if it's a well written story, I'll read it.

AuthorM said...

Hey, Misty! Thanks for the love. ;)

You mean the "Dishes Can Wait" picture?

I had a booksigning and he came just to say hi, wasn't that nice? I even got my picture taken with him!

M

AuthorM said...

Hi, Julie in Ohio!

Yep, if a book's good, it shouldn't matter what the pov is.

M

Meljprincess said...

Hi Megan,
I enjoy reading any book written in the first person. It's as if you're with that character listening to their story and you really get all the "dirt".
Love that guys tattoos!

MaryKate said...

Hi Megan - Welcome to RBtB. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of first person in romance because I want both POVs, the heroine's and the hero's. Linda Howard's To Die For frustrated me because I adored Wyatt and I *SO* wanted into his head. That being said, I think that Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize series works extremely well in first person because Lara is a stranger in a strange land.

But, as Julie said, there are some books that it works for, and if the writing is good, it could be written in almost any voice and it would work for me.

Jennifer Dunne said...

I'm with everyone else that the story is what matters -- if I'm into the story, I don't care what viewpoint the book has.

But it's much, much easier to do first person BADLY than it is to mangle third person. And I can think of few things worse than being trapped in the head of a whiny, self-absorbed twit for the length of a novel, which is why I won't buy a first-person story sight-unseen like I will a third-person story. Well, that, and "But little did I know, dear reader, how wrong I was!" ARGH! Hate hate hate hate HATE that. Either be in the story, or don't be. Don't try to have it both ways.

-- Jennifer Dunne (who couldn't manage to log on to Blogger, for some reason)

AuthorM said...

Hi, Mel!

Yes. Tattoos. Ahem. Verrrrry nice!

Thanks for the welcome, Marykate! Yep, I totally get wanting the hero's pov. That's what a lot of readers who don't like first person say, and I understand. Absolutely.

One of the things about my work for Spice is that I don't think I'd call them "romances" exactly -- though some are definitely more romancy than others are going to be. I think that's part of why first person worked so well for me in Dirty and the others.

Also, while I really do like getting inside the hero's head, I really do NOT like it when the hero is really just a woman in man-pants. I want to believe he's a guy, you know? And sometimes...it just doesn't feel like a real guy's thoughts or motivations.

M

AuthorM said...

Hiya, Jennifer!

I remember reading an extremely popular novel and tossing it across the room for something exactly like you said...something like "little did she know that ten minutes later she was going to be hit in the head." It wasn't first person but it was just as intrusive in third!

M

Meljprincess said...

Megan, you have any tattoos? I have 16. :-)

Hi Yeep! I had trouble logging in as well.

AuthorM said...

I have three tattoos, Mel. One of them is of that celtic biohazard love thing up in the post.

Laurie D. said...

Hey Megan!
As someone who has ready almost everything you've written I'm certain to love DIRTY! I have my copy, just haven't been able to get to it yet.
I used to hate first person. Yes, I know hate is a strong word - an ugly word according to my mother. But I did hate first person, with a passion, until last summer when I read two, one by Sasha White and one by Jill Shalvis. Both completely different but excellently done. I've been a convert every since. I have read several more since then, and enjoyed them all. I would encourage anyone who "hates" first person, as I did, to give it another chance. Maybe you just haven't read the right author!!
Thanks for being here, Megan!

Karen Erickson said...

I used to not be a fan of 1st person but I do like it now. I don't seek out 1st or 3rd person books - I just read what I like, what sounds good. As a writer, I've never written in first person but I'd like to give it a try.

I loved Dirty but I already told you that, Megan. ;) Thought I'd tell you again. It was perfect in 1st person - I enjoyed being inside Elle's head.

Mona said...

Hi Megan,

For sometime I hated first person pov, cause most of the time the heroine would give me the wrong signals I had to be stuck with what she sees and concludes and usually she has the wrong idea. Perhaps that's the purpose of the book But I didn't like it. Sometimes it works when we're talking about some good writer who would gave you the first person pov like you've gone into his head and convinced with every thing he's thinking. I've read with not just 2 persons point of view but more than that, it was something old for Iris Johansen. And the experience was refreshing. But I'd say my favorite would be 2 persons pov.
I think first person pov would work just great in Romantic Mysteries, Paranormal fiction or horror. Cause if I get to know what's in everybody's head then the Mystery is gone.

Meljprincess said...

I just knew you had that "celtic love thing" tattooed on you! *g*
What are the other two?

Julie in Ohio said...

I would like to make a quick comment on authors changing their "voice" from first person to third or vice versa. Karen Marie Moning just did this. I have loved every one of her books and was a little apprehensive and, if I'm going to be honest, a bit disappointed when her new book came out as first person. I've loved her heroes and to not know what was going on with them bothered me or I thought it would. When I read "Dark Fever", it was just as good as her others. It was different, don't get me wrong, but it was terrific.
I started the book knowing ahead of time that it was in first person. I don't know if how I would've taken it if I went into it expecting the other.
But it goes back to; a good story is a good story. :o)

Julie in Ohio said...

I guess I better get a dictionary and look up the word "quick"... :o\

Vivi Anna said...

Hi Megan. Congrats on all your success with Dirty and at SPICE. I like it in 3rd, 1st, 3rd and 1st, double 1st...I'll take it anyway I can get it! ;-)

AuthorM said...

Hi, Laurie! thanks for all the support. You know I appreciate it!

And Karen thanks to you, too! :) I'm so glad you liked Dirty!

You know something, Mona mystery and horror are where I don't like first! But a lot of mysteries are written in first.

Hey, Vivi Anna. Thanks for the congrats. It's been a pretty fun ride, so far. :)

And Mel...I have a four leaf clover and a claddagh, too.

M

Playground Monitor said...

I'm with a lot of the others -- the POV isn't as important as the story. I remember reading that Janet Evanovich wrote the Stephanie Plum books in first person because mystery lends itself well to 1st person POV -- sort of a film noir effect.

When I started writing, it was all in third. Then I began my "career" writing for the confessions magazines and all those are done in first. Now I struggle writing in third. At least in first you can't head hop. LOL! And I too hate head hopping. I'm currently trying to explain to a new writer about POV and head hopping and she just isn't getting it -- yet. It took me forever to understand but once I did, I became a POV purist.

I'll have to check out your books. My contest on our website starts in May and I'd already chosen "Sugar and Spice" as my theme since I got this really awesome Spice tote bag at RWA last summer.

Marilyn

Monica Burns said...

Hi Megan,

As an author/reader, I've got mixed feelings about 1st POV. For me it's definitely going to depend on the story. Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whiteny both wrote some wonderful 1st person POV stories that I still remember many years later.

The one reason I don't read more 1st person POV is because as someone else pointed out, I want to see what's going on the head of the hero/heroine at different points in the story. I really do want to know how the heroine is affecting the heroine when they're angry, making love, etc. I don't want to guess what he's feeling. As much as I love Jane Eyre, I would REALLY have loved to gotten into Rochester's head in that book. I think I would have been even more enthralled with the man than I already am.

Intimacy has been mentioned, and while I agree that 1st person POV allows a reader to get intimate with the narrator, it's the other main character(s) that I want to be intimate with as well.

Anyway, it's all subjective, and I've heard enough great buzz about Dirty, that I put it on my TBR/TBB list...now finding time? That's a whole 'nother topic! LOL

Monica

AuthorM said...

Hi, Marilyn! One of the first books I ever sent to a crit partner had all kinds of head hopping in it, but once she pointed it out, I never did it again. I became a purist, too. Now, I wonder...do readers who don't write even notice, really? I'm sure some do, some don't, some don't care. But ever since I noticed, I do care, and I really don't like head hopping!

M

AuthorM said...

Hi, Monica.

Mmmm, Jane Eyre! I didn't mind not being in Rochester's head. I guess I liked that bit of mystery to him, but I see what you mean.

M

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with most everyone else. I don't have a preference as long as the story is good and grabs me. If I can't get into a book by the first few chapters I end up putting it down and having a hard time finishing it. :(

I also have to admit, I haven't read any of your books...but I will be going to Barnes and Noble soon and adding you to my list.

Kelly F.

kim said...

i like a story because of the story but i do prefer third person, cause i am use to it.

ev said...

For three days I have been trying to post, so this sucker better go through. Dumb internet.

It all depends on the story. I have gotten better over the years about first person, which I really hated. Now I am finding myself not judging a book just because of it being written in first person. Although it is always freaky when you have a real nut job talking in first person- I am not sure I want to be in that characters head. and I am not crazy about sex scenes in the first person. Too vouyerish for me. Sorrry Vivi!!!

vickyb said...

If you haven't read Megan's stuff, you *HAVE* to. It's hot, it's well written, and her stories draw you in and won't let you go.

As to first vs. third - my preference is third, but I have read some really good firsts. For me, it depends more on the story and how well written it is than the specific pov.

vickyb

Pamk said...

Okay ducking I don't pay attention to what person first or third a story is written in. I pay attention to how well I like it. If it's a good story fantastic. Cause bottom line that is all that matters to me. I

Lauren said...

For me, it's not a matter of first v third - it's about what that particular story needs.

I loved Dirty (and even as your friend, I can still know if I love a book or not) and I think first person was a way to get into Elle's head to see that even Elle didn't understand herself. I think without first person, the pain of being so intimate with Elle would have been alleviated but it would have been less compelling - for me anyway.

I like all kinds of stories, sometimes they're best told in first person, sometimes not.

May said...

Oooookay, let me try this again. It's eaten my past 2 comments already.

Vivi Anna said...

Lauren...LOL, I KNOW exactly what you are talking about hun!

May said...

Please let it work this time.

Once upon a time, I hated first person.

Now that I've realised that it's just harder to find a book in first person I like because all of it hinges on the voice. It was a very interesting experience to read an erotic romance in dual first person, and hate the heroine's voice whilst liking the heroine's LOL.

I can't wait for Broken, Megan, but you already know that, LOL.

The Other M

Kelly said...

I'm not too picky on which POV I like. I do tend to go more for third I think because I like getting in all the characters heads but I enjoy first when it's done correctly. Of course, Meg, you already know I adore your writting and honestly you've made me like first person more than I used to.

I hate books that aren't in any clear POV. The last one I read, Hannibal Rising, I think was in third but it was written so oddly I don't even know how to describe ti. All I can say is the idea is good but the way it was written not so much.

Time to go back to the good stuff like DIRTY and BROKEN! :)

AuthorM said...

Kelly F., Kim and PamK-- I'm actually glad to hear that the pov doesn't really matter much to you.

Thanks for the love, Vickyb!

LD -- admit it. You clearly adore me. That's all there is to it.

The Other M -- yay for M's everywhere! :) I do believe you've mentioned looking forward to Broken, yes, and I have to say that gives me a little thrill to hear you say it, every time. Thank you.

M

AuthorM said...

Kelly -- I haven't read Hannibal but I am reading a book now with no clear pov and it's pretty distracting. I have to keep stopping and starting.

And I don't want to sound like I don't like third, because I do. I don't exclusively like first.

I don't think I'd like to read a book in second person present tense, though.

"You walk into the room, looking for your hat..."

M

CrystalG said...

I like books in first person and third person.
Broken sounds like a great novel.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hallo, Bellas and welcome, welcome, Megan! We've been looking forward to your visit, and I'm so glad to see things are goin great guns already. Thanks so much for joining us!

I fall fully into the category of folks who used to hate firt person pov. I neeeeeded to know what everyone's thinking.

Then, as many of you stated, I realized it was about the skill of the author, not the pov. I was just talking to a friend about novels in the 1st that seem as if they were put through a program that switched them from the 3rd.

It's so horrible to read, "I flipped my long, shiny blond hair over my shoulder," or "he touched my arm and I felt the warmtn all the way to my nether regions." Blech.

But the talented author writes 1st person narrative that sort of takes in external visual, sensual, etc., stimuli and conveys it to the reader with thoughtful internal dialogue.

OH, oh! And I agree w/Megan. I've always been annoyed by heroes who simply thought the way women want them to think: like us. But I still enjoy knowing what he's experiencing.

I'm really comfortable reading 3rd person. But there are novels that just blossom and sing in 1st. And first works great, of course, for the "confessional" or voyeuristic or erotic work.

"Dirty" couldn't have worked any other way. And the thing that keeps me from featuring for Middle America as a traditional romance is the multi-partner issue and that tasty sammich. But let me say that the scene and the one immediately following that one are great examples of the complexity of character Megan's drawn, and the reason why "Dirty" makes so much sense. I think folks who aren't particularly introspective could miss it and still really dig the book. But it's all there and it all works.

AuthorM said...

Hello, Michelle! I see Jack left quite an impression on you! I must confess, that sammich was so yummy I had to bring Jack back. He's in the book I just finished for Spice (it won't be out until 2009, I think.)

Thanks so much for the kind words about Dirty. Writing it was really a special experience. I'm glad to know readers are getting as much out of it as I did when I wrote it.

Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

I think you have to be a really talented author with a seriously good voice to pull off the first person. I've read so many novels in the first person that were awful and could have been so much better if the story had been told in the third person

robynl said...

I'm with a lot of the others -- the POV isn't as important as the story. I haven't read that many first person stories so can't really judge. I am just used to reading the others.

LizeeS said...

Hi Megan,
It's such a treat to get to know you. I'm another who has to admit that you're on my TBR list for the first time. Sounds as if those of us who haven't read your books yet are definitely missing out.

I'm a reader/writer too and have been fascinated with the first/third person debate forever. When I was 11 and 12 and writing myself to sleep at night I only wrote in first person. That carried into the short stories I wrote as a teen and young adult. I didn't even try third until I really started trying my hand at novels. Now I'm scared to try first person again because I'm afraid they'll sound like those 12-year-old's attempts! Don't I know how easy it would be to fall into the "little did I know" trap?

I'm so eager to read yours and learn! Thanks for being here today and good luck with all your new work.
Lizee

Maureen said...

I have read and enjoyed books in the first person. It's just a different kind of story. If the story is told well then I'll enjoy it.

Shannon said...

To me it seems easier to relate to a story when it is in first person. Also, you always know who is talking. Some books can get confusing with the "he said this, she said that. There don't seem to be many first person writers around though.

Victoria said...

Loved Dirty!
It's one of those books that stays with you for a long time after you finish.
As for which point of view, I never thought I cared for first, but have come to the realization that it's more about the storytelling than the point of view.

Natalie Damschroder said...

Megan knows how I feel about this topic, and I've blogged about it more than once, but since I'm the one she referenced as the only beta reader who wanted her latest book in 3rd person, I feel compelled to comment.

Oh, hell, several of you know I'd be commenting anyway. :)

I used to dislike first person in general, though there were some books I still enjoyed, like Evanovich. And then every new book I picked up seemed to be in first, and I hated it but read them anyway, and realized it was a real crapshoot whether I liked it or not.

For me, here's the thing:

Third person deep POV (which romance generally is) makes it very easy to become the character, every time. I'm not reading a book, I'm living the events of it. If the book isn't that good, it still might be possible for me to overlook its flaws.

First person is split. First person in deep POV that's well done also makes it easy for me to sink into the character and live the events. But if the narrator is TELLING the story as if I'm sitting next to them, I'm put off. Flaws become much less tolerable.

Even those kinds, I can still enjoy if they are well done, but they aren't my first preference. So add another opinion to the "it just has to be a good book" column. :)

Lauren, you totally crack me up.

Cherie said...

I actually enjoy first person books, especially if it is a split between the hero and heroine. You really get a great feel for the characters because of it. doesn't matter the genre it is in either in my opinion.

Cherie Japp

Jodi said...

I've never really cared what the POV is. As long as the story is good, I could really care less.

Lauren said...

Megan, of course I adore you - who doesn't?

Natalie, I wavered with you on the third person thing in C&R too so you're not alone. IMO, (and I said this) I like hearing what the hero thinks but she told me she wasn't going to get into Sam's head even if she went 3rd, which sort of made up my mind on the matter.

Amy S. said...

Hi Megan! I read Dirty and I loved it. I really wasn't used to reading first person POV but since I read Dirty, I love reading first person POV.

CrankyOtter said...

Someone asked if readers who aren't writers notice POV so I'm going to add another comment.

YES! But not everyone does, or they might but not know how to describe it. Since the advent of blogs, I've been reading up on various authors' writing styles, learning a lot, becoming a more educated consumer, and a great deal pickier. I find that consistent and strong POV in either first or 3rd person makes a read more enjoyable. If I have to guess who's talking/thinking, I get kicked right out of the story, with a nearly audible snap.

As an example of being an educated consumer (using another writing skill, not POV): the week after reading Jenny Crusie's blog on "story arcs which include the background details" and not just the main characters, I read Susan Donovan's book where the heroine was working up to a painted triptych - and SD just dropped the arc at the end of the book without a word. I was dissatisfied with the ending of the book, but because I'd just been educated about story arcs, I was able to say *why* more clearly. I would have been just as dissatisfied had I not just read about story arcing, I just wouldn't have been able to describe what bugged me as precisely.

I really like getting different POV only if there are clear breaks (scene by scene for instance) that delineate the POV switch. Otherwise I find the head change jarring and spend more time puzzling than reading. Some people can pull it off paragraph by paragraph but those authors are walking a thin line with me. I find Suz Brockmann and Mary Balogh do the POV very well.

I hadn't even realized that other people had an issue with 1st POV until Linda Howard's Blair book came out in PB because of it. In theory, I would even try to read a book written in first from both the hero's and heroine's point of view if someone cared to try it.

The "you are entering a blue lagoon" POV reminds me of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books that were popular with my 3rd grade class.

2 hours until I can hit the book store...

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LOL, crankyotter! One of the things I love about this medium, especially at a "readers' blog" like this one, is we all learn so much, and all get to talk about what we think in a safe, romance fiction/erom/erotica-positive community.

That said, one don't have to know squat about the craft to voice one's opinion here, neither. :)

In re "head-hopping," I think it is good to understand what the term means in the pejorative sense it's often used. It's not merely alternating POV, but doing so in an unclear manner.

Per alt of pov in 3rd person, some authors keep one POV character per chapter. Others are quite adept at alternating 2 pov characters w/in a chapter. I've even read one -- and damned if I can remember who, who flipped w/in a love scene and it was powerful. But I think it was a fluke.

I don't find either superior, as long as the writing is effective. But I'm a very egalitarian reader, and always remember that not everyone "reads like a writer." We tend to take some of the fun out of it. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

nat d.: yeah. what you said.

Caffey said...

Hi Megan!
I've read excerpts of DIRTY before it came out and loved the flow and all, in the first person! For me, the first time I read a book in the first person, I enjoyed it and after a few pages it didn't matter that it was in first person or not. Even now when I get a book, I don't care if its in first person or not. I love feeling the mind of the characters (and too a bit of the author :) I've read those in first person in Contemps, cozy mysteries and historical mysteries. I don't think I have read one in paranormal, but sure would if there was a book, blurb and all that I wanted to read. I really think that reading the first person is natural for me, so its never been an issue for me and I even look forward to it! Can wait to start reading DIRTY!

AuthorM said...

Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for chiming in and the warm welcomes! This discussion was really great, refreshing and fun. I had a great time.

Thanks to Michelle and all the Bellas for having me!

M

Cara North said...

I loved this book and I normally do not like 1st person POV's for longer novels. Dirty is a must read! And it is not just erotic, it is amazingly thought provoking.

Amanda Brice said...

I adore 1st person, as long as it's written well. But when done well, I much prefer it over 3rd, anyday.