A good book is made up of deep and interesting characters, a detailed plot that doesn’t get too confusing, a solid story and a dash of originality. But that’s about where it ends objectively. Readers are picky, picky people. They judge books by their covers, they angst over font choices and sizes, the ages of the characters, tenses and perspectives. Subjectivity reigns supreme in the world of books, and one tiny detail that may not even be a bad thing can get a potential reader to put down your book forever.
As someone who does both reading and writing, I’ve got my preferences for both. The same things that afflict readers also affect writing, and I find that many people write the way that they like to read. I think this is a pretty good idea, honestly. Some people cannot write certain things, especially things they don’t like, and that’s very evident when they try to do so anyway. So from both perspectives, I have very definite preferences.
My favorite genre for books is typically YA Fantasy and Science Fiction. I love to read it and I love to write it. But that’s such a broad category. When it comes to perspective, I choose almost exclusively third person. Reading in first person just seems weird, and writing it is even weirder. Why would I say that “I” am doing anything? I’m not. It’s fiction! And that’s not even me! One of the only exceptions I made for this particular preference is the Goosebumps series, a set of books that I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother have read. They were pretty good, though I can’t help but feel as though I’d enjoy them even more if they were in third person.
I’m also a past tense kind of person. I see some books do present tense, which is weird, but some even try future tense, which is just plain bizarre. For goodness’ sake, if you’re going to do future tense, just wait until it happens, then write about it. Talk about jumping the gun. So when I come across a book that has first person perspective and present tense, it’s just too weird to get into. I can read the books, but something feels off. For you heavy readers, I’m sure you know the feeling. You pick up a book that’s written differently than how you’re used to, and you can tell something doesn’t feel right.
Lots of people say that they prefer first person because it helps with their immersion, but that’s always been the opposite for me. Even if it’s not omniscient perspective, I like the third person stuff. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the vast majority of books, and I get into them just fine. It’s just like when I’m watching a movie or playing a game, I don’t have to see the screen from a person’s point of view to get into it. (I actually really do not like first person shooter games.)
Buuut I digress. This is just my particular set of preferences, and I’m quite picky when it comes to them. What are your preferences when it comes to either reading or writing, whichever are applicable?