SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

POV - hard and fast rule - 3rd/past???

Discussion started on

CindyS

Guest
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?
#1 - July 29, 2013, 03:53 PM

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
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
#2 - July 29, 2013, 06:18 PM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

CindyS

Guest
Thanks, Artemesia! Just what I wanted to hear.  :pickle
#3 - July 29, 2013, 09:28 PM
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 09:34 PM by CindyS »

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
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
#4 - July 30, 2013, 06:52 AM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
Others at www.jeanreidy.com

CindyS

Guest
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.
#5 - July 30, 2013, 07:49 AM

Dionna

Guest
Lily in Lily's Purple Plastic Purse--told in third person--is fabulously sassy.
#6 - July 30, 2013, 07:54 AM

Official Shenaniganizer
Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadawest
Great response, Jean!  :bow
#7 - July 30, 2013, 11:11 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
Lily in Lily's Purple Plastic Purse--told in third person--is fabulously sassy.
Completely agree!
#8 - July 30, 2013, 11:13 AM
Jean Reidy
Coming soon: Pup 681, Truman, When the Snow is Deeper Than My Boots Are Tall, Group Hug , Specs and Specs II.
Others at www.jeanreidy.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region illinois
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. 
#9 - August 23, 2013, 01:07 PM
Krisann

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
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!
#10 - August 23, 2013, 01:56 PM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE


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...
#11 - August 23, 2013, 03:48 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region sfsouth
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
#12 - August 23, 2013, 04:38 PM
How to Wear a Sari (HMH Books/Versify, Fall 2020)
www.darshanakhiani.com - Children's Book Author

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
Darshana....
Once the contracts are signed, I'll post the first few lines of one of the second person furture mss.

Leslie G....
Thanks!  ::-)
#13 - August 24, 2013, 02:08 PM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region sfsouth
Thanks Tammi. That would great to see!

-Darshana
#14 - August 24, 2013, 08:46 PM
How to Wear a Sari (HMH Books/Versify, Fall 2020)
www.darshanakhiani.com - Children's Book Author

CindyS

Guest
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.
#15 - August 25, 2013, 03:36 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region illinois
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!
#16 - August 26, 2013, 11:45 AM
Krisann

CindyS

Guest
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
#17 - August 27, 2013, 10:35 AM

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.
#18 - September 08, 2013, 07:43 PM

Children's Book Editor
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region nymetro
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
#19 - September 11, 2013, 07:43 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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.
#20 - November 06, 2013, 02:18 PM

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
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.
#21 - July 10, 2014, 11:42 AM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
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?!
#22 - July 10, 2014, 05:28 PM

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
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.
#23 - July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

Member
Poster Plus
I second what Franzilla said!! And I thank you for reaffirming that 3rd person/past isn't required to tell a story!!


 :carrot 
#24 - July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
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.
#25 - July 11, 2014, 07:08 AM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
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.
#26 - July 11, 2014, 10:18 AM
FLYING THE DRAGON (Charlesbridge, 2012)
A LONG PITCH HOME (Charlesbridge, 2016)

www.nataliediaslorenzi.com
http://bibliolinks.wordpress.com/

www.tammisauer.com
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
Thanks so much, Natalie! COWBOY CAMP turns 10 next year. Yeehaw!  :horse
#27 - July 11, 2014, 02:42 PM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newjersey
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!
#28 - July 12, 2014, 07:50 AM
http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/
Twitter:  @laurasassitales
GOODNIGHT ARK
 GOODNIGHT MANGER
LOVE IS KIND
 DIVA DELORES & THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region epa
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).
#29 - July 12, 2014, 08:08 AM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region arizona
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!


#30 - July 12, 2014, 03:02 PM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.