Part my education as a fiction writer has been to gain a better appreciation for the craft itself. I've always been a prolific reader, although nowhere approaching the level of my wife, but I was typically so into the story that the demonstration of craft (or lack thereof, as the case may be) was more less hidden.
For example, most novels are written in either third person (the way LEVERAGE, and INCENTIVIZE are written), or in first person (DELIVERABLES, although it has a twist, which I'll get to in a moment). As a reader, I was generally aware of the difference between the two, but that was about it.
Novels written in first person have been easier for me to write -- you see the world through the eyes of one character. You know what they know and see what they see, but no more. I've really enjoyed writing DELIVERABLES that way -- its easy to imagine yourself as the protagonist, and spill out their thoughts, feelings and observations. But there are limitations -- sometimes the reader needs to be aware of or know certain things that the protagonist doesn't or can't know. Figuring out how to get these integrated into the story can be challenging.
I also sometimes find the protagonists can be somewhat irritating because I, as a reader, can't believe how stupid or imperceptive they are. I think it's easier to skate over those kinds of issues in third person.
DELIVERABLES is a little different in that it is actually two linked stories, both told in first person, but each with a different protagonist. I've thought of it as "experimental", but I don't know if it's actually all that unusual.
Third person gives the writer much more flexibility. The most enjoyable aspect from the author's standpoint is getting deeply into the reasoning and thoughts of several characters. If you have some fun or particularly memorable non-protagonist characters -- like Falcon in LEVERAGE, for example -- this provides a way to give more depth to those characters. Because the reader sits in their heads at times, they're much less two dimensional.
One of the biggest sins when using third person is known as "head hopping", where within the confines of a single scene, the author is pulling thoughts or feelings from more than one "point of view" character. And yet, some well know works are guilty of head hopping. Thus far, I've been sticking to the formula: one scene - one point of view character.
The book I'm currently reading for pleasure: The Boss by Stan Pottinger, is a curious hybrid. There is one character who's scenes are written in first person, but the other scenes and characters are written in third person. A few years ago, I probably wouldn't have noticed this, but now it bothers me.
I wonder if a better understanding of craft will ruin some otherwise pleasurable reads for me?