Does point of view or narrative form play a role in your decision to purchase a novel? For instance, some people prefer reading novels that are written in first person over third person. For a while, I was stuck in third person—if I picked up a novel in first person, I would put it down. But I’ve learned to enjoy any narrative form.
Then there are people who prefer stories that are written in only one point of view. Others prefer more than one or two points of view. I enjoy reading stories that have multiple character views and the author reveals the story through their eyes. I love how an author will end a scene with a cliffhanger that’s in one character’s view, and then I’m left to read through another character’s scene and resulting dilemma before I find out what happened in the last scene. These sorts of twists and turns will keep me on the edge of my seat. Add to that, I’m left to consider how these characters will meet or how their stories will fit together further along in the book.
If the author is skilled, I end up caring about all the characters. I feel connected to them.
I once met someone who would skip over a point of view switch so she could stick with the same character throughout the novel. Imagine!
I’m not sure how she could keep up with the story, considering how much is revealed through multiple characters. But she was an avid reader, so somehow she made this method of reading work for her. I’ve often pondered why she would read this way. Had she grown comfortable with the character and become unwilling to let go? Perhaps it went much deeper—she connected with the character.
Photographer Michael Adams makes a good point in his article* when he says: “People will pay for connection; it’s what’s missing in their lives.” Though his article is about photography, it applies to everything because he’s right—connection is what’s missing in our lives, which is strange considering how much more we’re connected in this digital age.
Maybe when we read, we’re searching for that missing connection in the characters of novels.
At the end of the day, or ahem, the end of the novel, it’s all about connection and how deeply you connected with the characters. That’s the novel that will stay with you.
What was the last book you read that you felt connected with the characters in a personal way?