Which Characters Should Tell Your Love Story?

EDIT: My personal query is now solved, but if you’d still like to contribute your thoughts on who should tell a love story, feel free!


Hey, everyone!

Do you prefer to read romances narrated by just one person, or two? Do you believe it’s better to be in just one character’s head and get especially attached to them, or do you prefer to see a romance blossoming from the eyes of both participants? (Or however many participants there are.)

Context: I’m currently undecided about whether it would be best to write my romance in first-person heroine POV, or third-person duel POVs: heroine and hero. I’m comfortable in both techniques – although first-person is my default – so I’m more focused on whether people prefer one narrator or two in romance.

As a reader, I don’t have a preference for any particular POV. I like romances written in both first-person from one perspective and third-person from dual perspectives. However, I value different things when reading first-person and third-person POVs.

When reading a book in first person, it’s very important to me that the main character have a strong and unique voice. If I try chapter one of a first-person POV story and the MC seems “blah,” I stop reading.

In the third person, I have lower expectations for voice and care more about consistency. I can’t read stories that “head hop” from one character to another and back again within a single chapter.

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Just one. Though, sometimes I’ll take a gander and read a romance (or any genre, for that matter) with multiple narrators.

As to why it’s just the one narrator for me, well, it’s so that I can place myself in their shoes and/or imagine that I’m them and experiencing what they’re experiencing, et cetera.

Refer to my answer in question #1, please.

As for POVs, however, I tend to enjoy that of first-person rather than third-person. Probably for the reason(s) I have mentioned above. Heh.

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I know what you mean about first-person narrators, sometimes they have a really strong voice and it’s fabulous; sometimes they’re not so fabulous, or even come across as a little whiny. I don’t think I’ll have a problem with voice, though.

However, it’s interesting that you mention changing POVs within a chapter – does that mean you don’t like POV changes that happen between scenes within the same chapter, even when done between star breaks? ***

I see what you mean. Sometimes I really enjoy romances told by both participants, but sometimes I feel frustrated myself because I just want to stick with the heroine. Unfortunately, I’m not sure why I feel like that with certain books and not others. :face_with_monocle:

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Same here.

Though, I think I can take a guess as to why: it’s because we perhaps don’t wish to know what’s happening through the eyes of another character, only that of the main one. Probably because, if we do see what’s happening from another POV other than the central one, we won’t like it and/or will become bored with the story in general.

Of course, that’s just what I think - you may have a different opinion, so.

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does that mean you don’t like POV changes that happen between scenes within the same chapter, even when done between star breaks?

Rather than wanting to see a particular marker between POV switches–chapter break or star break–I mean I get dizzy from a high frequency of POV changes. Switching once in a chapter, once in a while, might be fine. Switching back and forth multiple times, or switching between POVs in every chapter, is too much for me.

Once I read a romance novel in which, during a “comedic” sequence, the POV switched between the hero and the heroine every other paragraph, with star breaks in between. The chef hero sends the heroine a romantic gift of chocolates, *** SWITCH *** the food critic heroine thinks the gift is a bribe for a good review of the chef’s restaurant and angrily sends it back, *** SWITCH *** the hero thinks the heroine must be on a diet and tries roses instead, *** SWITCH *** the heroine sneezes because she’s allergic to roses, and she assumes the jerk sent them on purpose, *** SWITCH *** *** SWITCH *** *** SWITCH ***!

Far from making me laugh, the head-hopping made me irritated. In movies, you can cut between one face and another rapidly, but it just doesn’t work in books.

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Yikes, that is a lot of switching! It’s made me dizzy.

I’d also never considered anyone not liking POV switches every chapter before. I’ll definitely weigh that up as I make my decision!

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Personally, I don’t care either way as long as it’s done well. I’ve read a few stories on here that feel like they switch POVs just for the sake of doing it. If it doesn’t add anything to the story, or give us a new spin on the situation there is just no need.

For the romance I wrote, I stuck to one POV in first person because part of the story was him trying to figure out why she had tried to kill herself several years ago and why she was so distant and angry. If I switched to her POV, I would have taken away from the tension and the climax.

So, I think either is fine. You just need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in this story. What’s your main goal? Does one voice distract or detract from the other? Or do you need two to fully tell your story?

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Thanks for your response! Your example is very helpful, and so are your questions. I’ll think them over.

Not a problem :blush:

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In general my preference is for stories told from more than one perspective. This trickles over to romance as well. I like knowing how both sides feel, and watching that shift and grow as time goes on. I especially like seeing different reaction to the same events. That isn’t to say I won’t read stories from one perspective, as there are plenty of those that I have read and loved, but more than one is my preference.
~Liv

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I don’t mind third or first person when I read. However, it’s rare for me to continue enjoying a book when it hops to the male character in first person. It feels like the same person most of the time, which completely ruins the story for me.

This is something I have done as a writer, but I’ve also always enjoyed capturing the individual voices of characters.

Now I’m writing in third person and probably have six out of thirty of the chapters in the male’s voice and it’s something that is generally enjoyed. I did pose a question asking readers if they felt I should keep the book in female point of view when I begin working on the second draft, and so far everyone’s encouraged me to keep it as it.

If both characters voices and personalities can be captured by the writer, I’m on board.

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I agree that seeing both sides’ reactions to the same event is interesting :grinning:. Thanks for your input!

I know what you mean (and have done it before myself). This time, I’d only write in first person if I was just using one narrator.

Yeah, if I use both POVs, even in third person, I’d still have to capture both voices and personalities, as you say. It’s something for me to consider.

I’ve been partial to writing stories from the man’s point of view. You don’t see that a lot and it gives a different perspective than the usual girl POV. At least I write mine that way.

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Yes, that’s a unique way to do it! :grinning:

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I prefer to have the story told from one perspective. When you have both perspectives, it can ruin the mystery a little. But the awesome thing about two perspectives is showing the errors in communication! I have tried both, but one POV is my favorite. Typically I write from the female’s POV because it’s more natural to me but I’d love to branch out!

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I agree with both points! I guess it all comes down to whether you want mystery in the story, or revelation of the extent to which the miscommunications run. Thanks for your input. :grinning:

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Generally I prefer the lover telling the story of the MC. The reasons for this are utilitarian: I prefer my “male role” female character to be somewhat more mysterious or even downright anonymous compared to the main lead.

I want it to be a story about them coming out of their shell.

But also it’s a little strange of the it’ the MC telling her own story, and at one point her dialogue get cut off when she’s guillotined.

I think horror has this problem.

Yes I have a dark sense of humor.

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