Tips for YA Lit: Point of View


Tips for YA Lit: 

Point of View
(Part 1)

This 3-part blog won't be only tip giving, but also showing the struggles that arise with narrative point of view in young adult literature. Narrative style can make or break a book and turn off some readers, at least for me. Part of the narrative style consists of point of view, meaning the way in which the story is told or the lens of the storyteller. There are three commonly used points of view (I'm skipping second person "you" as it isn't very popular in novel form) defined in bold below followed by pros and cons when it comes specifically to YA storytelling.

First person-- "I" tells the story from a character's point of view as in he or she tells readers the events directly and shares a unique opinion and perspective of them.
  • Pros--we, as readers, are in the character's head so we get a firsthand account and a front row
    seat to their actions, words, thoughts, and behaviors. While we get to know her, we become her, the "I" making us put ourselves into the story as the character. In the end, we get an authentic experience although vicariously.
  • Cons--it must be done well. If the character is 100% unique, readers might not align themselves with the character, find no common ground, and not enjoy the book. Also, if the character is 100% generic, you have a stereotype and the reader again may not feel this character is worth sharing experiences through since he/she is just like every character out there. 
  • A solution? Make them somewhere in between--identifiable, somewhat common, but interesting, with a little something everyone has that makes him/her unique. Share a lot of details of their life, make a huge list of background info to include like foods they hate, extracurricular activities, hobbies, pet peeves, etc. They do not have to be blank (Bella Swan) for readers to align themselves; they just have to be real and identifiable.
Popular first person novels--Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. 

This seems the most popular POV and a theory to that is due to the audience being dominantly female, they easily accept first person since it is similar to keeping a diary. From antiquated times, women kept diaries and journals while for men it seemed to fade away over the years.

Next week...onto third person.

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