I’ve resisted writing this post for a long time because I kept deluding myself into thinking the title didn’t apply to me. But I can’t deny the truth any longer.
Yes, friends, I have shameful confession to make: I am a POV snob.
So, what exactly does this wretched trait imply?
I’ve come to realize there is a standard set of guidelines I follow when choosing what to read. At first I wasn’t even aware I was doing it. Then a nasty little light bulb pinged on in my head, and I realized I rarely, if ever, deviate from the selection process below.
Before unveiling that list–and the woeful extent of my snobbery–I offer a heartfelt disclaimer so you don’t think I’m totally reprehensible: My checklist only applies to authors I do not know personally, or have not previously read. If you’re reading this blog and you fall into either of those categories, there’s no “checklist” involved.
For new authors, however, I systematically apply the following to determine whether or not I should purchase their novel:
- Do I like the genre?
- Do I like the cover? (Covers rank highly on my list. Without a snazzy cover, I rarely look further).
- Does the blurb intrigue me?
- Does the book have good reviews? (A few bad ones won’t deter me, but if most slant that way, I usually pass).
- Is the story written in first person POV?
“Yes” answers to the first four questions will have me pretty hyped up by the time I reach number five. I love to read, and by then I’m anticipating a great story because four of my five “must haves” have been met. But—and here’s where the snobbery kicks in—If the answer to number five is “yes,” it kills the whole deal.
POV snob. All. The. Way.
How did this happen, I wonder? In my younger years I wrote a few shorts, and even a novel in first person, all presently languishing in a drawer somewhere. I’ve even tried to overcome my natural reluctance by purchasing the occasional novel written in first person, breaking my own stringent rules.
Did I enjoy those? Heck, yes! Granted, they only amount to a handful, but a few rank among my all-time favorites such as The Alienist by Caleb Carr, and Bag of Bones by Stephen King.
Still…by habit, I always seek out novels written in third person narrative. I think it’s because I can sink into the story. I don’t have an “I” narrator relating it to me, so I’m able to become part of scene and connect more easily with the characters.
Many readers (and writers) love first person narrative, thus I am going to make a valiant effort to embrace it. Hence my reluctant revelation, crawling into the light to confess I am a POV snob. In 2015, I hope to slink from my comfort shell and read more books written in first person (we won’t mention present tense narrative. I have to take baby steps 🙂 ).
What about you? Do you prefer one type of narrative over another? Do you have guidelines you apply when deciding if a book is worthy of your time? Are you—gasp!—a POV snob?