Thursday, May 19, 2011

Point of View and Age of Characters in Young Adult Novels

old typewriter
When writing a young adult novel, which point of view do you choose? First person seems to be the popular pick, but sometimes third person is the best for the story. I was well into my work in progress before I began second guessing myself. It's in third person and puts you alternately in two separate characters' heads. Of course I don't "head hop." A single chapter is devoted to one particular character's POV.

Poking around agent blogs, I found an old post at Pub Rants that eased my fears. She said to use whatever works best for the story. But do go read what she said for yourself. She's rather brilliant.

I'm still a bit worried because one of my main characters is older than the typical young adult main character. Okay, he's a lot older. But hey, Doctor Who is hundreds of years old and teens and young adults are clamoring to climb aboard the TARDIS. At least, I think they are. Maybe it's just the crowds I move in. LOL

the outside and inside of the Mother's Day card one of my daughters made me

I'm not claiming to be scripting the next Doctor Who and my character is no David Tennant (or Matt Smith, if you like). Heck, he's not even a Tom Baker. (Care for a jelly baby?) However, Rick (my character's name is Rick- Don't ask me why. My husband named him.) travels with a young companion who is rather naive to the ways of the strange world I've created for them.

But I've strayed off topic. How do you decide which POV to use to tell your story? Do you experiment and rewrite chapters until you get it right? I did that A LOT while writing Syzygy, my first novel.

Speaking of Syzygy, here I am in my Syzygy shirt. You can get your own at our Cafe Press shop. They look super in person. The shop pics make the images look dim- especially on the black. But in reality, the image is very bright and clear. Just thought I'd show off a bit! :) Anyway, link on my sidebar.

me in my Syzygy shirt- designed by my niece, Jasmine


karabu said...

I'm getting so excited to read this new novel!

Anyway, I usually write in a close 3rd person, until I think something isn't working well, then I wonder if I should have used first person, or a different point of view character. So don't use my method.

stu said...

I use whatever is to hand. I just start writing and then keep going with wherever I am. As for the older character thing, it sounds like you're writing a mentor figure, which is not only fine, but actually very normal.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

@Kara~ Thanks! I think you second guess yourself too much. I do that too.

@Stu~ Thank you very much! I feel worlds better. Truly, you made my day. My character, Rick, is a mentor (if not a perfect one). :)

Joylene Butler said...

That's what is so scary is there's no fast rule. You can only do what feels right and hope it works. I'm currently working on the 6th draft of my sequel. And guess what I did? Yep, I have two protagonist, one was first person present tense and the other was 3rd person past tense. Try in vain, I knew the voice didn't quite cut it. Finally, I changed the 3rd to first person present too. Now I'm wondering what took me so long.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Joylene, I guess that proves that sometimes a writer just has to experiment. But I don't think it's all for nothing. We learn much about our characters and story in those early drafts! :)
Still, it would be nice to simply *know* which way it's *supposed* to be.

Joylene Butler said...

So true, Amanda. I'm sure it just feels as if many writers understand that upfront. In truth it probably took them just as long to figure out whose voice should be telling their story. Have a wonderful weekend.

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Thanks, Joylene. You too! :)

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