Before you can determine if first person is right for your style and story, and if there is any money to be made writing romance novels in a first person viewpoint, it’s important to understand what POV is.
Quite simply POV, or point of view, is the perspective from which a story is told. If the person telling the story is using “I” or “We” for example, Twilight and The Great Gatsby, then that is first person.
Is First Person Right for Romance Writing?
First person is often considered the easiest and most basic point of view to write in however I disagree. Writing in first person is extremely difficult because it’s personal and when it’s personal your own personality, emotions, opinions and reactions interfere with the character’s supposedly unique personality. And writing well in first person is rare.
That being said, first person is often the best way to tell a story because it is so personal, so intimate. If, as a writer, you are capable of separating how you would react to a situation, if you can eliminate your personal emotional response, and dive into your characters then first person may be the perfect POV for you and your romance story.
First Person Myths and Realities
Myth #1 – Agents HATE first person stories.
Reality – The love/hate relationship with the first person perspective is a personal one. As a reviewer, a prolific reader and a writer, I generally dislike reading and writing first person. However when an author does it well, I am deeply affected and attached to the story. Twilight, Stephanie Meyer’s big hit and book series is all told in first person and it’s a well written and compelling story. So while SOME agents might dislike first person, they’re probably kicking themselves if they turned Stephanie Meyer’s manuscript down.
The low down….yes some agents dislike first person POV and don’t read manuscripts written that way but if you’re a good writer and have a handle on what it takes to make first person compelling then you won’t have a problem finding an agent and making money writing romance.
Myth #2 Only beginner writers choose first person.
Reality – False! While many writers do begin with first person, many advanced and well published writers do too. Here are just a few novels written in first person:
- Great Gatsby
Sound and the Fury
- The Lovely Bones
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
- As I Lay Dying
- Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton, and Meg Cabot (all romance writers) write in first person too.
Myth #3 Romance novels must be written in third person.
Reality – Most romance novels are written in third person however, many publishers willingly and happily look at and publish first person too. Read the publisher’s guidelines before submitting and don’t necessarily write your manuscript for a specific publisher (unless you have the perfect idea and can whip it out fast)