Friday, January 19, 2018

What is Your Preferred Way of Exposing Your Characters? By Connie Vines

Topic: Point of View

Since I write in multiple genres, my point of view seems to remain the same within a specific genre.
My YA/Teen/Tween stories and novels are told in the first person.

 For me this is the most personal for the reader--meaning a reader is intimately involved in the story and steps into the main character’s mind.  The reader experiences emotions intensely, because he/she becomes the character.  And since few YA/Teens/Tweens are familiar with a ‘none-tech’ world, this is the best way to expose them to history/a new setting, etc.

 The single POV helps the story unfold in a way to allow the reader to understands life from an 1890 character.  No reaching for a cell phone, or grabbing a pizza for dinner!

When I write in first person, I do not change point of view of view.  I rely on dialogue or the main character’s observations to keep the reader aware of changes in plot etc.

The opening from my current release, Tanayia: Whisper upon the Water, Native American Series, Book 1

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen years ago.  My people and call ourselves “Nde” this means “The People”. The white man calls us Apache. 

Second person point of view is far more challenging for me. I find if an author uses second person in literature, he/she does so to engage the audience more and to make them part of the story and action or possibly make a thematic point about the characters. Second person is much more common in nonfiction, especially self-help books and business writing.


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go." (Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Random House, 1990).
Think back to when you were a kid and read Choose Your Own Adventure books. Weren’t those fun? You got to be the main character and decide where the story went. Well, those were all in 2nd person.

Third person point of view. Third person is most often used in novels. Many readers prefer third person because it is so popular. It can work from the omniscient viewpoint of the author telling the story even to informing the reader what the character or different characters are thinking.

I write my Contemporary/ Romantic Suspense/ Paranormal in third person in a character’s limited viewpoint. Here a character tells their story through their own viewpoint and senses. It tells what they say, see, hear, feel or taste, and even what they think. Different characters’ viewpoints can be used, but a clear demarcation is used to show when the narrative switches from one character to another. I like this method because it remains very intimate to the reader, but allows easy change between characters, too, unlike first or second voice.

Opening scene: Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1

Charlene hadn’t told Rachel that she’d fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the “Wild Cat” of the rodeo circuit.  Rachel signed.  She should have known.  After all, Charlene only dated men who wore booth and Stetsons.

Rachel Scott cringed at the very thought even as her gaze took in the breadth of Lynx Maddox’s chest, his broad shoulders, and dark green eyes that scanned her with blatant masculine approval.

A snippet from: Brede, Rodeo Romance, Book 2

Brede couldn’t seem to stop watching and worrying about Kate.  Even though she was trying to hide behind the menu, he sensed her tension.  He had to grip the edge of the table to keep from taking the menu out of her hands and looking into those wide green eyes again, just to catch a glimpse of whatever it was he saw when she looked at him.  But he wasn’t going to do anything rash.  Not now, not ever.  He wasn’t going to take her back to the ranch—not even if Caldwell retired and it meant eating peanut butter sandwiches from here to eternity.

He might gnaw his tongue off trying to keep silent, but he wasn’t going to ask her to stay.

For a change of pace: Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow, A Sassy & Fun Fantasy

Since her sister was contemplating the contents of a tin filled with Danish cookies, Meredith found herself cataloging the events that led up to her ‘accident’.

A charter member of the SoCal Arts Association, she’d been participating in the annual Zombie Walk Festival in Long Beach when it ‘happened’. . .

I hope you enjoyed my post and the snippets from my stories.    barnes and noble          BWL Publishing

Please visit stop by and see what all of our Round Rhobin participants have to say on this month’s topic!

Happy Reading,


Dr. Bob Rich
Helena Fairfax
Fiona McGier
Judith Copek
Marci Baun
Anne de Gruchy
A.J. Maguire
Skye Taylor
Anne Stenhouse 
Beverley Bateman
Rhobin L Courtright
Diane Bator


  1. Hi Connie, great post and a clear description of what each, 1st, 2nd and 3rd mean. I don't write YA, but I think your approach must reel the reader in. they are so dramatic at that age and all love to be central to anything going on. anne stenhouse

  2. I enjoyed the snippets from your books.

  3. Good explanation for all the possible points of view and how each might fit a different genre better than another choice.

  4. Hi, Connie, I enjoyed your post. I write contemporary romantic suspense in third person. I hadn't thought of the difference genres needing to be written in a different person like YA/Teens working in first person. Interesting.

  5. I particularly liked the Apache girl's introduction. The incomplete sentences really work well to make it dramatic.

  6. I prefer third person but that’s just a personal preference

  7. Hello Connie, How interesting to think about the way first person works particularly well for your young audience. I found it restricted my ability to use landscape and description in my work, but your opening section of 'Tanayia' showed that this doesn't have to be the case at all - I loved it. Many thanks, Anne


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