1. Cyrus
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    Cyrus Member

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    1st Person or 3rd Person? What takes your fancy?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cyrus, Apr 1, 2012.

    I am currently planning my first novel. I usually write for screen so this has been a bit of a leap for me, and I have been mulling over some of the huge differences between the two. One of the differences I have been paying particular attention to is perspective. When you write for screen it's very technical and visual. But in a novel it's much more personal.

    I was wondering what your preference to read/write in and why? would it be 1st person or 3rd person?

    I have come to find 1st person much easier to take in when I am reading.

    What's your preference?
     
  2. CarterE
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    CarterE New Member

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    I used to use First Person all the time. But lately, I've been all over 3rd, so I switch.
     
  3. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I usually do third. Everyone is going to say (so I might as well say it) that both are perfectly fine and it depends on the type of your novel that you're writing.

    The reason I use third? I don't know. I find it easier, maybe. More flexible? It allows for many different shades of penetration into a character. It can change from character to character. It can show all at once. I have occasionally written in first person, but that has the caveat of having to show the character's thought process and the way they understand all the other characters. (I'm lazy.) In third, you can show it but you don't have to. You can see every character from the outside. It's a little unnatural, from a certain perspective, but I like it :)
     
  4. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I honestly prefer to read and write 3rd person. First person won't turn be off of a book, but I prefer third. I don't have any valid reason other than disliking the word I.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer to both read and write in third, first person actually put me a little off a book, I think I have read just a handful of novels written in that POV that were actually good. Third person seem more... complete to me. I usually avoid first person.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many threads on this topic. You should browse the forum.

    First is a more limiting perspective, and harder to write well. Many new writers believe that first is easier, but usually that is because they are doing it "wrong". By "wrong", I mean an inward-focused, self-absorbed writing style, characterized by excessive angsting and second guessing oneself. Wallowing in the character's thoughts and feelings is not a good idea.

    The skills for good first person writing are an extension of the skills for good third person writing. But first person writing must stick tight to the POV character, never wandering off to expose information not available to that character.

    There are good reasons for first person writing. The best is that the moment-to-moment "ttuth" is founded on the perception of that character, a perception that evolves as more information accrues. This makes it a good choice for the mystery genre.

    In general, though, third person can convey every bit as much intimacy as first person, while allowing the writer to seamlessly switch to other points of view.

    Therefore, I would recommend a writer, particularly a new writer, to use third person unless there is an excellent reason to choose first person. And that writer should at least master the third person POV before attempting first person.
     
  7. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Master 3rd person and appreciate the boundaries/limitations of writing in 1st person, only then you'll write good in both. Choose one, as Cog said, when you have a good reason.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's been so many threads on this topic, I honestly can't be bothered to repeat what I already said. If you find that not too many people answer, you might want to browse the threads a bit, you'll get heaps of opinions on this elsewhere :)
     
  9. There_She_Goes
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    There_She_Goes Member

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    I think I'm going to opt for the third person cause my main character is a boy. Yes, I understand him, but sometimes I notice that I tend to write from a feminine perspective. I suppose this is a good enough reason for not choosing the first person :). I can act like a boy, but it's never fully convincing (trust me, I've had to try it) so I'm concealing the little flaws and weaknesses by not diving straight into my main characters thoughts... Have you guys ever had this problem?
     
  10. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Frankly, I've never picked a boy for my MC... but if you want advice on that, read some old threads.
     
  11. Endovert
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    Endovert Member

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    Admittedly, I'm a fan of 3rd person. That may just be because I've been burned by really terrible 1st person stories. The other part of it is that I don't necessarily want to live in the character's head; I want to be able to think objectively about a story, and 1st person hinders me somehow. Of course, this is all personal preference, not logical reasons to pick one over the other. I would think with a background in screenwriting, it would be easier to write in 3rd because you're already used to writing from the viewer perspective.
     

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