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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: CindyS on July 29, 2013, 03:53 PM

Title: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: CindyS on July 29, 2013, 03:53 PM
Here to pick your brain again. :) I know that the suggested POV for PBs is 3rd/past. Can anyone shed any light on how wide-spread  this preference is? I know that younger children have some difficulty with this because they are not there yet developmentally, but .... :(     I changed my current PB to 3rd/past after a crit recommendation, but I just don't like it. I don't feel that I can infuse the same emotion from the MC. The story is very much about her sassy attitude. Thoughts?
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Artemesia on July 29, 2013, 06:18 PM
I'd say go with what works best for the story. Third is the most common, but there is no rule that says you can't write a PB in first person or even second!

check out these threads, they list some PBs listed that were written in first and second.

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=39542.msg536782#msg536782
http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=63733.msg747953#msg747953
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: CindyS on July 29, 2013, 09:28 PM
Thanks, Artemesia! Just what I wanted to hear.  :pickle
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Jean Reidy on July 30, 2013, 06:52 AM
Hey Cindy.

I'm assuming that you started with first person. Is that right? So maybe you should explore why your crit buddies were asking for the change. Sometimes, only sometimes, when you have a character with a sassy attitude, 1st person can come across as bratty. Did they say your character was unlikeable. In that case, 3rd person allows you to infuse just the right amount of perspective and explanation to keep your character loveable. Plus, you can still add the sass through MC actions and dialog. Remember too, that in 3rd person your narrator becomes a character too, and requires a unique voice ... which can be very fun to play with.

I've written sassy both ways, so Arty is correct - whatever works for your story, you should go with. But before you choose one or the other, I'd try to understand the original concerns.

Jean
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: CindyS on July 30, 2013, 07:49 AM
These are great points, Jean, thanks. I will look a little more closely and explore both versions again.... with a more objective eye, hopefully.  :eyeballs:
Thanks so much for the help.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Dionna on July 30, 2013, 07:54 AM
Lily in Lily's Purple Plastic Purse--told in third person--is fabulously sassy.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Artemesia on July 30, 2013, 11:11 AM
Great response, Jean!  :bow
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Jean Reidy on July 30, 2013, 11:13 AM
Lily in Lily's Purple Plastic Purse--told in third person--is fabulously sassy.
Completely agree!
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: bugaboo on August 23, 2013, 01:07 PM
I'm happy to read this.  I am so torn right now.  I was about to query two new picture books, both in first person, and it dawned on me that I should maybe try writing them in third person first.  I tried, and now I like them both.  Do you think agents have a real preference?  I honestly like them both way, and crit partners have been torn also.  Is there an advantage to choosing one over the other?
My kids loved the book Ready, Set, Skip, so I do think it is possible to write first person and have it work.  But, that said, I don't see many first person picture books.  Is that because they don't sell, or because people just don't generally write them?  Hmmm
Any input or suggestions?  Some of you may have read one of mine on Writeoncon...I went back and forth on adding a name to the character purely for the sake of the query, and ended up just rewriting the whole thing to give her a name. 
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on August 23, 2013, 01:56 PM
My favorite pb of 2013 is THE WATERMELON SEED by debut author/illustrator Greg Pizzoli. It's written in first person present.

I sold 3 pbs this past spring.

One was in first person present.

The other two were in second person future.

Most of my pbs are in third person past.

Soooo....I agree with what others have said. Go with what works best for each particular story. Good luck!
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: LeslieG on August 23, 2013, 03:48 PM

I sold 3 pbs this past spring.


Apart from your great advice on POV, Tammi-- :wow And congratulations!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: darshana on August 23, 2013, 04:38 PM
Jean - that is excellent advice. will need to save that nugget.
Tammi - thank for your perspective. now i'm curious about what type of stories can be told in 2nd person future.

CindyS - Thanks for asking this question. I have a pb story that I did in 1st and 3rd person. So far none of my critiquers who I trust have issues with it being in first person. I think the story has more spunk like my character when done in 1st person. 3rd person was fine too, just had a different feel. If you are doing in 1st person, just be careful to avoid the common pitfalls. http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2011/06/most-common-mistakes-series-is-your.html

Good luck with whatever you decide.
-Darshana
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on August 24, 2013, 02:08 PM
Darshana....
Once the contracts are signed, I'll post the first few lines of one of the second person furture mss.

Leslie G....
Thanks!  ::-)
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: darshana on August 24, 2013, 08:46 PM
Thanks Tammi. That would great to see!

-Darshana
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: CindyS on August 25, 2013, 03:36 PM
Darshana-
The "spunk factor" is the exact reason I was struggling with changing from 1stppov. I have changed it to 3rd/past and want to let it sit a bit before revisiting both and deciding. Sometimes, my perspective changes completely when I get some distance for a bit. Good luck with yours too.

Great conversation. Thanks Ladies.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: bugaboo on August 26, 2013, 11:45 AM
Interestingly enough, I just received a personal response (rejection) for a pb submission.  It was first person, and he actually said that "first person should be reserved only for YA"  Hmmmm...
I sure wish I had submitted it in third, since I've written it in both!
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: CindyS on August 27, 2013, 10:35 AM
Sorry about the rejection, Bugaboo. This is good info for future reference, though. Maybe I should follow others' advice (something I'm not that good at) and stick with the 3rd/past. Meh
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Nanci on September 08, 2013, 07:43 PM
My current WIP is in third person past, but I recently wondered if
changing to first may be better. Probably will stick with third, but
wonder why that person said that to you, Bugaboo. I guess third
is probably more common, but still, what about Fancy Nancy
and Pinkalicious? And of course more.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: HaroldU on September 11, 2013, 07:43 PM
Ann Whitford Paul talks about, and gives examples of, SEVERAL different possible POVs for picture books in her wonderful book, Writing Picture Books.

Here's my review of it, for more information: http://www.underdown.org/writing-picture-books-review.htm
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Donna J. Shepherd on November 06, 2013, 02:18 PM
It's fun to play around with your manuscript by putting it in different characters' voices. I had "Ava's Secret Tea Party" in first person and titled "Four for Tea and Me" forever. It never seemed quite right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. One night, just as I drifted off to sleep, it dawned on me. I didn't know my MC's name. I decided she would be named Ava and the next day, changed the entire thing to third person. It clicked.

I have a tendency to write in first person (after all, I'm four years old inside. :) ), but then playing with the tense and POV after I have a general idea of where the story is going.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on July 10, 2014, 11:42 AM
Hey, Darshana.

At long last, I'm sharing those first few lines of my upcoming book, YOUR ALIEN.

*****

YOUR ALIEN

You will be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way.
[Art Note: A mishap results in a baby alien landing in protagonist's yard.]

You will want to keep him.

You'll have to break the news to your parents.

Luckily, they won’t notice what they just agreed to.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Franzilla on July 10, 2014, 05:28 PM
Hey, Darshana.

At long last, I'm sharing those first few lines of my upcoming book, YOUR ALIEN.

*****

YOUR ALIEN

You will be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way.
[Art Note: A mishap results in a baby alien landing in protagonist's yard.]

You will want to keep him.

You'll have to break the news to your parents.

Luckily, they won?t notice what they just agreed to.


I WANT ONE! I WANT ONE! A copy of the book as soon as it comes out and a lovely little baby alien! Brilliant idea. Love it. And I know my kids will too. How many publishing years do we have to wait to get our hands on it?!
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM
Ha! You just made my day.
The tentative pub date is Fall 2015. The sequel, YOUR ALIEN RETURNS, is scheduled for Spring 2016.
I received the sketches yesterday and am dying of happiness.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: carrots on July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM
I second what Franzilla said!! And I thank you for reaffirming that 3rd person/past isn't required to tell a story!!


 :carrot 
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on July 11, 2014, 07:08 AM
Carrots,
It's been a lot of fun to play with different points of view. When I first started out, I was told DO NOT write pbs in first person present. I'm happy to say I have a couple of first person present books coming out in 2015. I think we just need to use what works best for each story.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Natalie on July 11, 2014, 10:18 AM
Tammi, this sounds adorable! I'm a fan of all your books, starting all the way back with COWBOY CAMP, and my students especially adore NUGGET & FANG.


Darshana, another great example of this tense (2nd person future) is Audrey Vernick's IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDGERGARTEN? and TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY THE DRUMS.
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Tammi on July 11, 2014, 02:42 PM
Thanks so much, Natalie! COWBOY CAMP turns 10 next year. Yeehaw!  :horse
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: poet on July 12, 2014, 07:50 AM
What a great discussion thread.  I haven't written a pb in the first person, though I have written quite a few poems in the first person for the same 4 - 7 age group.  I agree with the general consensus that you need to do what works best for your story.  For what it's worth - in the tense department - both picture books I've sold are told in the present tense - third person present.  I'm intrigued by the idea of telling  a story in the future tense and look forward to reading Tammi's future tense books when they come out!  Happy writing all, in whatever person and tense you choose!
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Kell on July 12, 2014, 08:08 AM
HOW TO WASH A WOOLY MAMMOTH is written in second person imperative. I'm sure there's others in that POV...

I've written PBs in first and third -- none published yet! I had one that I wrote in third that got rejected by an editor for being "too close" to the POV character so it is possible to get in the character's head (too much).
Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: michelle-shaw on July 12, 2014, 03:02 PM
Cindy,
I agree with some of the other posts.  The best advice I have been given from published authors is to stick to your gut.  Not everyone will love your book, but if you change to much to please others or change the POV you may not be keep the original story in tact.  With my manuscript I did both.  I changed entire book to first person and the entire book into third.  Then I had several people read both, but I found myself more in love with first, because yes, first shows the characters personality.  Remember you can always use actions to smooth out some of the sass and dialog is always good as well.  I am sure it is a great manuscript.


One last tip I will share is to go through the entire manuscript and circle what I call the non-negotionable parts.  Choose a few specific lines, actions, or dialog that you feel is non-negotionable to you.  An editor may help to change certain areas of the story or someone may have a better way of helping you say something, but what are not willing to give up?  These are the spots that I leave alone.  The other comments are the ones I can focus on and decide if I can compromise. Good Luck!


Title: Re: POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on July 14, 2014, 06:49 PM
I think the age of the protagonist may play in this. A first person three year old won't necessarily have the words needed to go with the action, so the third person omniscient narrator would be a good idea.

But there is no such thing as a hard and fast rule. It's all about story. You can use tense and person in any combination. (I bet there are even books in future second person talking about what or whom you'll be when you grow up.)