?

First or Third?

  1. First

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  2. Third

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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    1st or 3rd?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GuardianWynn, Jan 10, 2016.

    Okay. I have a book I plan to write in a few months. I am not sure in which way I should go in terms of POV. Let me give some needed context.

    For one, I already wrote it. lol. Last April, I challenged my self to the rules of NaNoWriMo. Since then I haven't touched it. I am thinking about using the old draft as a guide to rewrite it with my new writing skills. But I am not sure which I should write it in.

    The old book I did in 3rd.

    Here is the thing. In all 35 chapters or 50k. I only changed POV twice. So 3 in total. for quite literally 98% of the time. I was inside my MC's head. Her name is Jackie. lol.

    But then I am thinking. Those 2 moments were pretty neat. One was a fake out. I implied my girl died. I swiched to her sister, but that only lasted like 800 words. The other time is at the climax where I hang around everyone involved in fighting. Not just ones Jackie was in or saw.

    The story of Jackie is interesting. She is a 33 year old woman, that mentally is 17. Because she has spent so much of life focusing on how to survive and push herself physically, that she never really developed emotionally.

    This story in all its glory is that catching up to her. Her feeling love for the first time towards a boy and just not knowing how to deal with it (to the point of literally suspecting she is sick and going to a hospitial.) Or her dealing with grief and her desire to want to destroy the everything from the pain. The ultimate resolution is about her learning to express herself without over doing it.

    I guess when I say it like that. I am really making the argument for first person aren't I? But I like opinions!

    Also, if I do firt, does that ruin the set up of my two shifts in POV?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope. You can do that just as well in third person. Third person can be just as close as first. It just gives you more tools for expressing that information, because you're not forced to always use the character's voice.
     
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So do you have an opinion on which you think I should use? :D
     
  4. LemonadeLover
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    LemonadeLover Member

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    I personally prefer reading third person, not sure why but I just do. I agree with ChickenFreak, you would have more tools for expressing information because you are not forced to use the character's voice.
    As well as this, you've already written quite a lot in third person already and it can be tiresome to have to go back and change the story around like that.
    However, it's really up to you how you feel like Jackie's story should be told. If your story works better as a first person, then that's how you should write it and you can always change it back if it's not working.
     
  5. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure how much help we can realistically be here.

    If you've already written the story in third and you think it works, I'm having a hard time seeing why you'd change it, unless it's as an exercise.

    If you've written the story in third and you think it doesn't work, I'm having a hard time seeing why you wouldn't try first and see if that makes it better.

    You probably are going to have to drop the POV changes if you go with first. I mean, it's certainly possible to pull them off, but that strikes me as something pretty difficult to do well. Mind you, it sounds like you're already switching from close-third to omniscient-third for the finale, so maybe that's not a problem for you.

    Thing is, I don't think we can help much based on what you've given. The story you've described can be told effectively in first, in closed third, in omniscient third, probably even in second if you're good enough. If I was writing it, I'd probably go with first. I think I'd be able to handle the mental state of the character better that way. But @ChickenFreak's absolutely right that the tools are there in third, I just trust myself to do a better job in first. Depends how you write, where your skillset lies.

    Maybe stick a couple of chapters in the workshop and ask people what they think of the POV. You'll get more useful answers.
     
  6. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read Character & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card (ignore his personal foibles; as a writer, he knows a thing or three).
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    All else being equal, I vote for close third. But there are a whole lot of considerations inside "all else being equal."

    If you're thinking that you can't get close enough to the character in third, you could post a brief section, and a description of what you want but feel you can't achieve, in the review room.
     
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  8. Wolfmaster1234
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    Wolfmaster1234 Member

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    Well, I think it really depends on what is the purpose of the 2% of the time your not in her head. 3rd person can help give the reader information that wouldn't usually be obtainable via the 1st person. Out of personal preference I prefer 3rd person just in general, furthermore, sometimes when writing in 1st person you can get pulled into the trap of just making the MC you which may not be appropriate for the story.
     
  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Addendum to what I wrote earlier:

    Writing in first person is far more difficult because it's not easy to show what's going on when the narrator isn't there to see/hear/taste/touch/smell it. Events have to be related to the first person narrator through conversation or summaries of conversation... which are never as compelling to the reader as 'seeing' for him/herself through direction narration.

    That's not to say first person should be avoided. There's always a way (a creative way) to get these things across. It just takes more time and energy on the writer's part to find them.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're writing in close third you have the same issues. Close third and first person, in my experience and opinion, have almost exactly the same advantages and disadvantages--they're essentially interchangeable.

    Omniscient third has some serious differences, but it seems difficult for beginning writers to do well. I have a project for which it would be really useful, but I'm not sure I'm up to making the switch!
     
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  11. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    So many replies! I am loved! :)

    Well, I am not editing my current copy. I plan to re-write it in either case. Because I think in this case I will get more bang for my buck out of starting over than editing. Third was just my more natural, but given that the story was so emotional/one POV driven. I thought perhaps that was a mistake.

    Could you elaborate please? :)

    I never thought of this way. But yeah that is pretty darn accurate. There really isn't any difference in style you think from close third and first? I mean in the sense where one would be a slightly superieror choice?
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think there are marketing considerations - if you're writing in a specific genre, there may be genre conventions to consider. And there can be times when the way the story is set up demands one or the other - if there's a framing story in which the narrator explains she's telling about what happened to her years ago, for example, first person would make sense. But in general, I certainly don't think one is better than the other.
     
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  13. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Why not write a couple of pages for each POV and read through them and see what you like most. At least it should give you a feel which POV you are most comfortable in.
     
  14. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am fine with writing either. I have wrote both styles. I am thinking that my character or story might benefit from one over the other.
     
  15. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    I say for this type of story i would go with 1st person. I know a lot of people in general prefer 3rd but when I think of all my favourite books, they are written in first person. Also i think getting into Jenny's head is important to the story.
     
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