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Old 03-26-2010, 10:18 PM   #1
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POV for YA Novels

Are agents inclined to pass on a book based on POV for this market? Do they prefer to see a certain POV?

I'm going to start on a YA work, but I want to be sure that I have an appropriate voice for it. I'm leaning towards 3rd person limited, but my 14 year old stepdaughter has told me that she much prefers the intimacy of a 1st person book. (I've only ever written in 1st person, but I imagine it may make it easier for me to get through the writing process with 3PL.)

Opinions on this?
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:31 PM   #2
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As long as it's a great story with a compelling character, POV doesn't matter. (Though second person will usually get you rejected as almost everyone dislikes that). Use whatever will best tell your story.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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I see 3PL and 1P in more or less equal amounts in YA, and I'd think you'd be fine with either. I'd go with whichever works better for the story. If you're comfortable with 1P, go for it!
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:09 PM   #4
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I've been seeing more 1P in what I've been reading lately, but as others say, go for what you're most comfortable with and what fits the story best.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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I'm struggling with POV right now myself. I'm trying on 3PL and 1P. Have you played around with both? And I agree--go with whichever feels like the best fit for your novel.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:29 PM   #6
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1P is very popular right now, but their are a few popular 3P YA novels such as The Wicked Lovely series by our very own Melissa Marr and the later Harry Potter books. Infact, i'm reading Tender Morsels at the moment which is in 3P and I have to say I enjoy it a lot more than the last three books I read which were all in 1P, and on the bestseller list.

If you feel your story needs to be told in 3P then do it. I don't think it would get an instant rejection just based on the 1P trend.
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:58 AM   #7
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I wrote the first draft of my current ms in 1st person, and then rewrote it into 3rd person limited as some of the narrative didn't jive with 1st person. I think the 3rd person works much better, as it gives intimacy and distance at the same time, and my readers agreed.

That said, if an agent suggested reasons to rewrite it back into 1st person, I would definitely listen and give it some thought.
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Old 03-27-2010, 05:48 AM   #8
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As far as I can tell, agents don't have a preference.

I, personally, prefer first person, but some of my FAVORITE books are in third person. I can't really imagine Harry Potter in first person. Third worked. Just as I can't see a Sarah Dessen novel in third person. Its all up to you and your voice. An agent just wants it to be well written.
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:38 AM   #9
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First person is more popular but by no means your only option.

I always do first person present, just 'cause I'm stuck in my ways like that, I guess. I much prefer to read 1st present, too. But some people freak the fuck out over present tense (still) so yeah, it's a matter of personal preference and there are quite a few valid options.
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:45 AM   #10
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I agree that 1P seems to be the rage at the moment, but I truly believe that each story will have a comfort zone/tone that lends it to a certain pov.

Does your main protag have a strong voice that you want to give shape to the story? 1P might be a good choice. On the other hand, if your story has a host of characters with lots to say it might be good to go 3P.

Someone brought up Harry P, and that's an excellent case for using 3P (when you've got many characters that have emotions/feelings you wish to convey to the reader). The Percy Jackson books have a strong 1P tone, and as such I don't know that we ever get overly intimate with secondary characters (ask 100 HP fans, and each might give you a dif. favorite character). However, Percy is such a strong character that it doesn't take away from the story, and in fact strengthens the bond between the reader and Percy (I think).

In the end, it's author's choice, so have fun.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:03 AM   #11
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See, I totally failed at making this decision... so I just went with both :]
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Old 03-28-2010, 06:35 PM   #12
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:49 PM   #13
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I always worked in third person past, but for my newest novel, I decided to experiment in first present because the heroine's voice and style of the novel demanded it, and first present came easy for me. I couldn't imagine the book in third, since most of the humor and quirkyness comes from my protag's voice and reactions to the situations around her, although there is a very fun supporting cast.
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:00 PM   #14
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Talking

I wrote the first draft of my book in 3rd person, but it hasn't worked. I'm not sure why exactly, I think I'm too distant from the characters. I'm like a fly on the wall explaining what's going on, but finding it difficult to get into the character's heads that way.

I'm trying 1st person with a number of characters in the story. It's working much better, but I'm not sure if many books have 1st person from more than one character's perspective in the one story...
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiallMcF View Post
I wrote the first draft of my book in 3rd person, but it hasn't worked. I'm not sure why exactly, I think I'm too distant from the characters. I'm like a fly on the wall explaining what's going on, but finding it difficult to get into the character's heads that way.

I'm trying 1st person with a number of characters in the story. It's working much better, but I'm not sure if many books have 1st person from more than one character's perspective in the one story...
I've seen it often enough that I think you'd be okay. Some well known YA examples I can think of include Jodi Piccoult's My Sister's Keeper (and some of her other books too, but that's the one I've read), Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters and The Last Days, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, and Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn.

At least, I hope it's okay because I'm trying that myself...
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:00 AM   #16
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I've seen it often enough that I think you'd be okay. Some well known YA examples I can think of include Jodi Piccoult's My Sister's Keeper (and some of her other books too, but that's the one I've read), Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters and The Last Days, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, and Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn.

At least, I hope it's okay because I'm trying that myself...
So am I!

A couple of recent examples are Jenny Valentine's The Ant Colony and Patrick Ness's The Ask and the Answer, which both have two first-person narrators.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:29 AM   #17
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Tonnnns of books do alternating 1st person:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson,
Love is The Higher Law
Smack
Doing It
Crunch Time
M or F?
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

to name a few...
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