I just read Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham, written in first person present tense, which means the main character is in pretty much all the scenes. The book carries a strong message about the vulnerability of underage girls and the adult predators they encounter. I enjoyed the story and the first-person POV made it a lot more intimate.
The majority of the books I read are written in 3rd person, where the narrator is not known. I like the fact the unidentified narrator knows the whole story and can relate it from different points of view (providing they are not in the same scene). As a reader, I get to know all the characters and see their different dimensions, depending upon what is happening and whom they encounter. First person can be limiting because the main character drives the story and cannot know what is happening outside his own scenes.
I often weave several plots together in the books I write, and tell the story from different character’s points of view. In Madness and Murder, several chapters of the the story are told from opposite sides of the world. Sometimes I get into the killers head, and the victim’s. I find it more suspenseful to write and to read.
I’ve recently been criticized by readers who don’t like this, who find it confusing to switch into a new character’s POV in a new chapter. In the mystery genre, I like the idea that I can write from the POV of the character who is most affected by what is happening in the scene. If everything happens in one character’s POV, how can the reader fully understand the impact on the other character’s, the victim, or their families?
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way, and I’m interested to know your thoughts on the subject. Does your preference depend on genre? Do you like to get to know one main character or several? Or do you have no preference?