Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Author’s POV on POV: Guestpost & Giveaway with Sloan Parker

Today I’m very pleased that the wonderful Sloan Parker is my guest. She’s the author of the hot and fabulous gay ménage romance More, that you all know I loved! You can read my review here. Sloan will be talking about a topic that has me contemplating every once in a while, because like everyone else I have my likes and dislikes about it, as a reader. The topic is POV (point of view) in romances. I’m dying to hear about this from a writer’s POV. So, I’ll stop talking now and give Sloan the stage!


Hello everyone! My name is Sloan Parker, and I’m a newly published romance author. Thanks to the lovely Janna for inviting me by her blog today and allowing me to share my thoughts on writing romances in both first and third person points of view (POV).

When I was writing the first draft of my current story, BREATHE (written in third person), I was also working with my editor on edits to my book MORE (written in first person). It was interesting to flip back and forth between the two types of viewpoints. Each POV has its own advantages and disadvantages for both the reader and the writer.

So today I thought I’d share some of what I like and dislike about writing in each.

Limited Third Person / Told from Multiple Alternating Viewpoints (Uses pronouns “he” or “she”)

What I like:
  • Multiple histories & life experiences. I like being able to explore more than one viewpoint of the events in a story. Each character looks at the world and interprets events and the actions of others differently.
  • Emotional journeys of all involved. In third person, I can more easily focus on the emotional journey of both (or all) of the main characters in the relationship.
  • Getting to the heart of the matter. By switching back and forth between the main characters, I can write each scene from the viewpoint of whichever character is most emotionally impacted by the events in that moment. There are some scenes in MORE where it would have been nice to get into Matthew’s or Richard’s head.
What I don’t like:
  • Those tricky little words “he” and “she.” Pronouns can be a headache for any writer, especially for scenes with two or more characters of the same gender. This is not just an issue for love scenes in m/m romances, but for any scene with multiple characters of the same gender. This can lead to awkward wording with repeated names or character descriptions in place of vague pronouns.
  • A stop to the tension. It can be hard to keep the tension going in third person when you are alternating viewpoints between characters. If one character is wondering what the other is thinking or feeling, the reader may already know and thus the tension is lessoned.
  • Too stupid to live. Often, the reader ends up with more information than the individual characters which can lead to one or more characters looking stupid or as if they should’ve “known better.”

First Person / Told from One Viewpoint (Uses pronouns “I” or “me”)

What I like:
  • A deeper connection. When writing as the narrator of the story (who also is “in” the story), I find it gives me a more immediate and personal connection to the main character.
  • Faster first draft. By putting myself in each scene as though I am the POV character, I can quickly slip into his head and the actions surrounding him. As a writer, I find this easier to achieve in first person.
  • He can be trusted. First person helps establish credibility for the main POV character. At no point in the story do we see that character’s actions without his viewpoint and thus are not as tempted to question his motivations.

What I don’t like:
  • What happened when he was sleeping (or unconscious or in the bathroom)? Writing in first means you are limited to only the immediate actions that the POV character is present for or what he/she is told by others.
  • He seems shifty. In first person, I worry that the reader may question the motives of the other characters whose thoughts they are not privy to, and this may not be the reaction I’m hoping for.
  • I don’t like him. First person (especially in novel-length works) can be a risky storytelling convention. The narrator needs to be likeable or at least interesting (he/she can have faults but cannot be boring or annoying). If the reader doesn’t like that character, then chances are they won’t connect with the book.
As a reader, I have liked and disliked romances written in both first and third person. It all depends on how the author executes the story and the characterizations.

So what do you think? I’d love to hear your likes and dislikes. Do you enjoy reading books told in first person, third, or both? Do you like stories told from one person’s viewpoint or all of the main characters in the romantic relationship?

Thanks again, Janna, for letting me share on your blog today. And thanks to your readers for dropping by and checking out my thoughts on POV.


Thank you, Sloan! It was my pleasure to have you here today.


Sloan has generously offered a copy of her ebook More for giveaway. This is a M/M/M romance, published at Loose Id.

The giveaway is open to everyone, I will announce the winner on April 27.

To enter the giveaway, follow my blog and leave a comment on this post before Monday night (April 26). I would love it if you answer Sloan’s questions or ask her something about the first and third POV. She’ll be stopping by today to respond to your comments or questions.

Good luck to you all!


Backblurb More:

For fifteen years Luke Moore has lived by three rules: stay off his father's radar, never spend more than a single night with any man, and never fall in love again. But one night of explosive sex and two men whom he can’t get out of his head have Luke breaking them all. Richard and Matthew push him past all his boundaries—both sexually and personally—and now he’s no longer hiding from his senator father; he’s taking him on. And he isn’t just falling for one man; he’s falling for two. If you're going to break the rules, might as well break them big.
But Luke’s father has his reasons for hating how his son lives, and he’ll do whatever he can and use all his power to keep Luke away from Richard and Matthew.
Can this threesome find a way to make their unconventional relationship last with the world around them trying to pull them apart? And will Luke be able to keep breaking his rules for Richard and Matthew, or will he head back to his familiar way of life just when his new lovers want to bind him tighter?

Sloan Parker's weblog and website
Sloan Parker on Twitter
Buy the book here
Read an excerpt here


  1. The front guy in the picture of the book looks suspiciously like someone I used to work with... hmmm

  2. Hmm. I'm not a fan of menage books, but I've heard good things about this one. Hmm...

  3. Interesting post. I'm pretty much ok with either 1st or 3rd POV. If the book is interesting I can handle either one.

    I've already got More in my TBR so no need to enter me.

  4. I prefer to write in third person, but I like reading either.

    The thing that bugs me more than anything is head hopping while in third person. Drive me batty...which is why my critique group gifted me with the nickname POV Police. ;)

  5. Hi everyone! Thanks again, Janna for letting me post on your blog today.

    @Amber: hmmm, maybe he is the guy you worked with. Ever see him with his shirt off? Or is that TMI? :)

    @Chris: I wanted to write a menage that didn't "feel" like a menage. Not sure if I accomplished that, but I hope you enjoy it if you do decide to give it a try.

    @Lily: It seems more and more people feel that way too. I hope you enjoy reading More. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I think getting into Luke’s head was half of the fun.

    @Bronwyn: POV Police - I love that. :) I like a scene break or a chapter break between POV switches. Otherwise, even as the writer, I'd probably get confused. I don't want to chance pulling people out of the story if they aren't sure who is thinking what.

    Thanks for the comments!

  6. It might very well be him! I never saw him without his shirt, though I'm sure I could have if I asked :D He was awesome!

    I was so caught up with the cover that I didn't realize there was a contest! I'll enter and answer the question:

    I can read from any POV, but my favorite to write in is first. There's just a better connection to the character that way, and they can tell me what they're thinking rather than me "watching" and reporting the scene playing before my closed eyes.

    BUT! When reading romances, I love hearing the male perspective [obviously not an "option" here]. Being female, I can guess what every other female would be thinking/feeling at a point, but men are a mystery. I may know my #1 better than anyone else, but I'm sure it would surprise me to figure out what he's thinking while I'm doin somethin' dirty ;) [it probably would have something to do with food. Or games. hehe]

    and Yay! for newly published!!! :D

  7. I read the sneak peak on your website a few weeks ago and have been dying to read this book. I found that I am in love with m/m/m.

  8. Glad you decided to enter, Amber. Very funny comments about your #1. I think you hit on some of the reasons I like to write romance. I like playing with what people are thinking when falling in love, having sex, etc. Of course, I'm a romantic and this is fiction, so they aren't really thinking about food during the dirty parts. After, maybe. :)

  9. Hi Christine. I'm so glad to hear you liked what you read. Good luck on the contest, and I hope you enjoy Richard, Matthew, and Luke's story if you do get a chance to read MORE.

  10. *waves* Bonjour Sloan! (Bonjour Janna!) Well thanks to Janna here, I was already interested in reading MORE, i loved her review. =) Now I want to meet those naughty boys! *g*

    I like both, but what I love the most is when we have the main characters POV in first person. I love going from one mind to the other! But it must be clear who's the narrator, i don't want to get confused.
    But somehow it doesn't work with the villains, i hate reading first person narration from the villain...i just can't relate (yeah that's with UF, doesn't happen much with Romances)

  11. Hi Sloan,

    I read and totally lovd More and I would LOVE a print copy! I love to read all characters POVs I like the back and forth! But then I like 1st person too, if the story is good and the character is likeable!

  12. Great post. Nice to hear a writers view any what you like and don't like about different POV. I know a lot of people don't care for first person POV but I do love it. I like the intimacy with the main protag. I think it's fun sometimes in romance to wonder right along with the protag what the her love interest is thinking and question his motives etc. :)

  13. I honestly don't have a preferred POV when I read. As long as the story is interesting and the relationship emotional and believable, then I don't care who tells the story.

    Congrats on the new release! I'm dying to get my hands on it and excited to discover another m/m genre author.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  14. Hi Janna and Sloan (I love your name btw!). I really don't have a preference of first or third person pov. I like it both ways (that's what she said, haha!). I think it just depends on the characters and the storyline.

  15. Great post! I personally prefer 3rd person but I find myself reading 1st person pv more and more these days. I guess I don't dislike it as much as I thought I did. lol

  16. @Amber: Isn't the cover beautiful? I'm with you on the male perspective! That's one of the reasons why I love M/M romances so much! :)

    @Chris: I know menages are not your thing ;) But uhm... are you entering, or not? Just checking ;)

    @Lily: I've read a few very bad first POV books before and that made me like the third better. But since I read M/M, quite some books I loved are written in first POV. So my dislike is changing in a like :)
    I look forward to your thoughts on 'More', but I've told you that before ;)

    @Bronwyn: Yep, the headhopping can get very annoying, especially in menages. LOL re POV Police!

  17. Hi Sloan! I'm so very happy that you're my guest today! So, stop thanking me ;) I thank YOU! :D

    I can relate to a lot of points that you -as a writer- make, from a reader's point of view. Especially the remark about the TSTL hero or heroine. But I gotta say that a TSTL character written from first POV can bug me endlessly too!

  18. @Janna: Heh, well, since I always ask YOU that... ;) Sloan's response to my comment convinced me to enter. I prefer third person POV, but if there's too much headhopping, that'll drive me nuts.

  19. @Christine: You and me both :) Reading M/M/M is so much fun!

    @pattepoilue: Bonjour ma belle! :) Alternating first POV's! Hmmm, interesting. I think I've never read a book where that happened. I would like that too, I think.

    @Perpetua: Luke, Matthew and Richard were so loveable. I wouldn't mind reading all their POV's! :) Who knows what Sloan has in store for us, huh? ;)

    @Fiction Vixen: First POV can be really great when it's done well. And I agree that it can work wonderful for identifying with the main protag on a deeper level! :)

  20. @joder: You're right, of course. :) Although I sometimes think that a story could've been more interesting and the relationship more believable if the author had shared the other main character's POV too! That's absolutely not the case in 'More' though, Sloan did a terrific job in first POV! :)

    @Patti: Do you think it's one of those alias writer names? *g*
    Yep, it's all in HOW a story is told :)

    @Tracy: That's exactly what's happening with me, all thanks to authors like Josh Lanyon, LB Gregg, Sean Kennedy and Sloan. You notice they are all M/M romance writers? LOL!

    @Chris: *grin* exactly. I'm glad you're entering. You might like this menage, no headhopping here! ;)

  21. I actually want to read this! it would be my first gay novel, that's for sure! but it sounds great. I enjoyed the interview, and as a writer, I prefer third person pov for romances, but if it's mystery, or thriller, or urban fantasy, I think the first person pov helps identify with the character...and you guys are all right-no "head hopping." Some authors do that without letting you know who's thinking, and it might be mid-paragraph!

  22. Hey Janna and Sloan...

    Thank you for a well thought out post on POV - Personnally I dont mind either...

    With first person I have to always remember - characterizations are subject to the person telling the story - but I am good with that.

    3 person POV - Someone mention the back and forth swing in scenes, as a mood reader - sometimes I really need this type of stroy telling - Me & I can get a bit long winded after a while...

    I have read MORE and there were some niggles for me - But overall I thought it was wonderfull. Because of how the men meet and their indiviuals drama - I would love to hear Matthew's and Richard's POV on the matter...

    Thanks for this post Janna - I will bookmark this page. As a reader sometimes I get quite critical of an authors work and not taking into consideration that POV is froth with it's limitation...

    I see you have toss your name in the pot for MORE - Please let me know if you are committed to reading this book ..

    Just to hear your thoughts on this - I will buy you this book...

    You run as fast as you can from anything menage ... My fingers are ready when you give me the go ahead...


  23. LOL EH! No need to buy it for me! Hee hee...

  24. Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

    @pattepoilue: *waves back* Glad to hear the review piqued your interest. That’s very interesting about the villain. I’ve never written anything from a villain’s POV. Either first or third. I think I’m afraid I’ll creep myself out. LOL

    @Perpetua: Hi. I know I told you this at Ethan’s, but I’m so glad you liked it. Not every book works for every reader, but it’s nice to hear positive feedback. Thanks!! (btw, I won’t know about a print copy for a little while. Loose Id waits to see how the ebook is doing). I’ll definitely let you know if I hear something.

    @Fiction Vixen: Thanks! That’s one of the reasons I do like first person as a reader of romances. With the right author, it can be fun to go along on their journey with them and not know for sure what the other character(s) in the romance is thinking. But it can also be frustrating too! ;)

    @joder: I think I’m the same way with what I read. It all depends on how the author tells the story. I’ve read some great first person romances and some that just didn’t work for me. Same for third. It’s a matter of personal taste: the characters, the story, and the way it’s told (the POV, the language, etc.) all have to mesh well in terms of my personal tastes to make it a great book.

  25. You will break down and read one - one of these days... I know you will..

  26. Hi Sloan! Great post!
    I like both and find that when I read one really good book in say 1st POV then I want to read a few more in the same POV. After a few books I find I miss 3rd PPOV and will find some of those to read.
    It's great to have the option - especially when one author that you really like writes in both POV.

  27. @Patti: Thanks. Sloan Parker is a pen name (although more and more people in my personal life call me Sloan now. I think I might end up legally changing my name). It’s the name I wanted to give my daughter, but since we’re not having kids I decided to steal it back. :)

    @Tracy: Thanks! I like the way you said that (I don’t dislike it as much as I thought). LOL. I know a lot of romance readers don’t want to read books in first person because they find the limitations frustrating (which is a valid point). Glad to hear you’ve read some that worked for you.

    @Janna: TSTL does happen in any POV. For me, it just takes a little more finesse to work around it in third. Although I’m just now finishing up the third full-length novel I’ve ever written, so maybe I’ll change that opinion later. :)

    @HighlandHussy: Well, I hope you like More if you do read it and that it doesn’t put you off the genre for any reason. *bites nails nervously* I will say that More is a book that’s heavy on the sex (Luke is not the kind of person looking for love when he meets these two guys), but I also think it’s a romantic sweet story about falling in love and learning to trust again. That’s my take on it anyway. I agree about mysteries and thrillers. First person can really keep the tension high and helps put the reader in the characters shoes.

  28. Sloan-

    What a great blog post! Its always interesting to me to hear an author's perspective on POV and I love yours.

    Have to say that More is on my TBB pile, especially since I've heard wonderful things about it! :)

  29. @Erotic Horizon: Thank for you for the compliment on MORE. Very high praise since there were some niggles you had with the story. Thanks!

    @MsM: Very well said. I think I do that too. I tend to look for similar genres and styles after reading something I really loved.

    @Chris: Mmmm, you guys have me very curious now. If you do end up reading MORE, I’d love to hear your thoughts since you don’t usually like menages. And yes, even if you don’t like it, I’d be curious to hear your take on what worked and didn’t for you.

    And that goes for anyone. Feel free to send me an email. Everyone has different reactions and opinions and it’s fun to hear those (and it’s also nice to see if there is a commonality to what people liked or didn’t like. I’m always hoping to improve my writing.)

  30. @Danielle: I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I love talking about writing (just ask the folks in my local writers’ group. We meet once a week and talk about writing for a couple hours). It’s nice to hear there’s some good buzz going about MORE. If you do read it, I hope it lives up to what you’re hearing. Expectations can be a tricky thing.

  31. @HighlandHussy: I heart it when peeps want to try the gay romance genre! I really hope you like it. Like Sloan already pointed out though, More does have a lot of explicit sex scenes. It's kind of learning to swim and diving into the deep end of the pool. I just hope you won't drown ;) It's a great and romantic read, that's for sure!

    @EH: Thanks for your elaborate comment, hon! And wow, being bookmarked feels good :)
    Wouldn't it be great if Chris just read this book? It might help her to get over her anti-menage attitude ;) Well let's see if the gods agree with us!

    @MsM: I'm like you! And I heart it when I can find that kind of diversity with the same favorite author too. :)

    @Sloan: It's a cool name and I like how you 'stole' it back for yourself :) The name reminds me of that sexy doctor in Grey's Anatomy played by Eric Dane. He's practically my hubby's twin *grin*

    @Danielle: Good to hear that you enjoyed Sloan's post about this topic. And I hope you'll get to read More soon and tell me your thoughts on it! :)

  32. I read the excerpt from your website a couple of weeks ago. It was hot. I added it to my be read list on the spot.

    I'd love to win a copy. It'd definitely get bumped to the top of my reading list.

  33. @Reena: Thanks for stopping by! :) Consider yourself entered.

  34. @Janna: I love your learning to swim analogy. :) Ooohhh...Eric Dane. Very nice!

    @Reena: Thanks for checking out the excerpt and adding MORE to your list. I'm glad you liked what you read so far. Good luck on the contest!

  35. Hi all,
    As a writer, 3rd person is all I can write without going crazy.

    As a reader, I refer 3rd person as well, only because I like the freedom of hearing from different characters. However... and this is huge...I don't need to hear from EVERY character. I don't need a paragraph from the butler followed by a paragraph from the taxi cab driver, lol. Head hopping is a huge distraction. Luckily there are lots of authors that write without the headache of head hopping.... Oh Bron....You're awesome at this.

    And in the end, I think the editor also needs to try and help the writer step it up, though there's only so much an editor can do if the author resists it, lol.

    Great post, oh and please enter me too.


  36. I. Loved. This. Book. One of the best threesome m/m/m books I've read all year.

    I never quite thought about having to deal with 'he' in regards to writing especially in m/m vs m/f.

  37. I think my fav POV is first person though I do like 3rd person as long as it's 2-3 POVs - too many and it gets confusing. Though 3rd person is nice for love scenes - you can find out what all parties involved are feeling :D

    Great post and please! please! enter me in the contest :D

  38. @Kris: I agree. I usually don’t like books told from too many POVs. I tend to like close third or first where you really get into the heads of the main characters who are the most deeply affected by the story.

    @Smokinhotbooks: That’s wonderful to hear. So glad it worked for you. The love scenes (especially) in m/m can be tricky in third person. I’m not sure I would have wanted to try MORE in third with all the "he" and "his" pronouns and matching body parts, but it might have been interesting. :)

    @Heather: I agree. Switching POVs in a book with love scenes does help us see both sides of the developing relationship. In the book I’m finishing up now, I switch back and forth between the main characters, usually at scene or chapter breaks, but in one instance, I decided to switch in the middle of a love scene so I could get both perspectives. I love how it turned out. Good luck in the contest!

  39. Hi Janna and Sloane,
    I love m/m stories and enjoyed this excerpt. s long as I'm pulled into the story I have no preferance, especially if I 'm loving what I'm reading.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Carol L.

  40. @Kris: I'm with you, I don't need to hear from EVERY character either when the story is told in third person. Just the main characters will do ;)
    You're entered!

    @KC: Yeah, I've read a few M/M books in which the He and His use was a bit awkward and confusing. That's different with M/F :)

    @Heather: I agree, the love scenes with more POV's add something to the story, as long as the switch between the POV's is clear and done well ;D

    @Carol: Yep, loving what you're reading is the first requirement :) Some authors can pull you into a story now matter what!

  41. I prefer the books I read to be in 3rd person. I've read a few 1st person books that I like but usually they get on my nerves.

  42. @Sherry: You know More is in first POV, right? You still want to be entered? :D

  43. @Carol: Hi. So glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I’m pretty much the same as you about POV. It’s all in how well the author can tell the story. Thanks for the comment.

    @Sherry: I’ve heard many others say the same thing, that first is not their preferred read, especially for romance. As Janna said, MORE is all in first person from one character's POV -- just a friendly warning. :) If you ever do read it, I hope it works for you.

  44. I appreciate different points of view but most of the books I read do happen to be in the first POV.

    I like reading from both the hero's and heroine's perspective. One of the frustrating things for me when reading a book is when the hero's POV isn't shown that much or isn't shown at all.

    Count me in for the contest. Thanks!

  45. I haven't found a book I don't like howit's written so much, I prefer to hear everyones voice though. I have a freind who absolutely hates first POV.

    Thanks for the contest!

  46. I'm sorry I'm so late :(

    Thank you so much Sloan. I used to never like first person...and then I read Silent in the Grave (Deanna Raybourn) and realized that when it is done well it can really connect you to a story. I still prefer third person though as I like multiple POV :)

    I can't wait to read More!

  47. @Bookie: I agree that it's frustrating when the hero's POV isn't shown much or at all. I love to know the male perspective on things and that's probably one of the reasons I like reading m/m fiction so much :)

    @Christine H: I can imagine that it's wonderful to like all the books you've read so far :)

    @orannia: No need to apologize for that :) I'm glad you made it in time!
    I agree with you that first POV can really connect you to a story. That happened to me a few times now. :)

  48. Am I still in time for the after party?? Let me just dip in the first and third person question. I enjoy both though the tricky thing with first person POV is always, do I connect with that character? The whole book stands or falls with that connection. Even if the writing style, or the story is worthwhile, I need my connection or else the emotions, the tension and conflict is lost to me, making the book a chore to read :( Still, if I do find that connection with a first person POV then let the fireworks begin, it is a chance I am always willing to take and so far I haven't had many bad experiences :)

    MORE sounds very good, it would be my first m/m/m ménage *grin* and I love to expand my horizon LOL

  49. @Bookie: Hi! I’ve heard that same thing about the hero’s POV from many others. Sometimes I have trouble reading first when I’m not sure if I can trust the other person whose POV we don’t get. It doesn’t work when that character’s actions are overly suspicious. Good luck on the contest!

    @Christine H: That’s wonderful that you’ve read so many good books. Sometimes I can look past writing that has mistakes or problems if the story and characters are well done. Thanks for the comment and good luck!

    @orannia: So glad you were able to stop by. Just checked out the blurb for Silent in the Grave it sounds really good. You’re right about that connection with the story in first. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to try writing MORE in first. I’ve read some great books written in first that really connected me to a damaged hero. I hope you enjoy reading MORE and that you connect with Luke and his story if you do give it a try.

    @Leontine: Ohhh your first m/m/m! How exciting. As I said above, I agree about connecting with the main character in a first person book. I also think you have to like them too. It’s no fun to go on their journey with them if you don’t like that character. You won’t care about what happens to him/her. Like you said it would make it a chore to read his/her story. I’m glad you liked the sound of MORE. If you do read it, I hope you enjoy these three guys together.

  50. Hi Leontine! You're still in time, hon! Oh, you really need to expand your horizon and More is the perfect book for that. :D So, keep your fingers crossed tomorrow morning when I go over to! :)


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