Thursday, May 15, 2008


I spent quite a long time last night reading on the Internet, trying to determine the standards--if there are any--by which POV "should" be determined for urban fantasy. What I concluded is that there technically isn't a standard, though most urban fantasy does seem to be written in first person. It isn't a rule handed down by publishers; it's just become so commonplace as to be the prevalent choice in UF.

One very kind individual explained that the possible main reason so much urban fantasy started being written in first person is that the books often come across like a detective story, where the detective is relating the story after the fact. Put like that, it makes since. Even the old TV show "Mike Hammer" was narrated--supposedly by the character, Hammer--in first person.

I find, though, that I prefer third person POV. Oddly enough, I find that first person distances me from the character rather than bringing me closer. I feel that third person done right can actually be more intimate than first person, since you don't always have the feeling that the character is sitting there talking to you, telling you after the fact about events you weren't part of. With third person, I feel more as though I'm there watching events unfold as they happen. With first or with third, the narrative is almost always in past tense, so really, the feeling of distance is a product of how well (or badly) the author managed to get me, the reader, inside the main character's head.

Any other opinions on the POV subject? Likes, dislikes, preferences? I'd especially appreciate any comment on POV as it relates to urban fantasy or paranormal fiction of any kind.

1 comment:

Willow Goldentree said...

I agree with you, I prefer 3rd person POV, more than 1st person. I never thought of it the way you described it, but lately I've been reading a lot of books, by many different authors. And the ones that grab me are the 3rd person POV. :-D