1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Style First- or third-person.. Which would be most effective?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lea`Brooks, Mar 26, 2014.

    Hello all!

    So I have this idea for a new adult fantasy-esque (Im not really sure if it fits into the fantasy genre :p) novel.

    The setting is future America, after marijuana and gay marriage (possibly a few other things) have been legalized. Thinking the world is ready to accept them, creatures of myth who have been living among us in secret (vampires, faeries werewolves, etc) come out into the open to become part of society. However, many disapprove of them, labeling them as dangerous monsters, and this starts a new controversy for Americans to fight over.

    My MC Giselle is the 25yo daughter of the governor leading the fight against the creatures. But she is nothing like her family as she secretly hopes her father loses his war against the creatures so that they may become part of society. During a political event, a group of creatures start a riot and she is chased through the streets, away from the safety of her father and their bodyguards. She is found by a golem named Lonnie, who hides her from the creatures that are trying to harm her. The riot ends up lasting all night, so they are forced to remain hidden, during which time they get to know each other.

    Long story short, Giselle gets changed into a golem and ends up being a special kind of golem. If she doesn't reach the home of the golems in time, she'll die.

    I originally wanted to write the story in first person, following Giselle. But Lonnie, being a golem, has a lot of stories and secrets that he keeps from Giselle. If I wrote it in first person, I would have Lonnie reveal these secrets near the end of the novel. My only concern is that the story wouldn't be as exciting, because Giselle wouldn't know that her life is in danger.

    I also considered writing it in third person, following both Giselle and Lonnie. He would then discuss his secrets with other golems that they encounter, revealing them early on in the story. But I'm worried that doing this would detract from the suspense, and the reader wouldn't be able to connect to a third person point of view as well as a first person pov.


    What do you think? :)
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It's always a tough decision. First can get a lot of wow from readers cause they're placed in the mc's shoes. But it's also a narrow veiwpoint and all the character's have to be filtered through her. Facts can become opinions. I usually only use I if the character has a really unique viewpoint or tone. Or if I want to hide things from the reader ( unreliable narrator. ) When I need/want opinions not facts.

    Third is more flexible, it doesn't always have the wow factor ( especially for YA ) but you can leave the mc and show someone else and enter different places and create different scenes. This eases up the need for goofy dialogue which can happen in I because the mc isn't always there to be privy to information but later on needs to be informed ( I'm reminded of Flowers in the Attic in which Cathy and Christopher needed to know about the grandfather's will and overheard two maids talking about it - six months after the event - which would've never happened but for the sake of plot and 1st person it needed to happen ). Third can also add to the suspense because the reader can know something the mc doesn't. And you can tease the reader by leaving the mc at intense moments and cutting to another scene.

    A good way to test it is write a chapter in each - first and third and see what flows best. I'd say a scene but sometimes I can trick you and look good for a scene but not in the long haul.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    There is actually a "stickied" thread on 1st v 3rd person in this section.

    There is no reason you can't present multiple POVs in 1st person, provided you make it clear to the reader that the POV has changed. This can be especially useful if you want to present either (or both) as an unreliable narrator. In your case, it would allow you to let the reader know things each character knows without having to explain that the other character did not know them. However, if you do that, you should take pains to see that the two "voices" are very different. If you find that difficult, then keep in mind that you can accomplish most of the same benefits of 1st person using 3rd person limited.

    1st person v 3rd person has little to do with the reader being "able to connect". It's strictly a matter of personal preference. My advice would be, within the confines of the demands of either, you should write in whichever you are more comfortable.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks guys!

    I really like the idea of 1st, because I do feel it's a powerful point of view.. But I also really want to tell the story from both perspectives. Lonnie and Giselle have very different personalities, so it shouldn't be too hard to make it known who is speaking if I decide to go that route.

    I think I'll try to write a chapter of each and see which one feels better to me.


    Thanks again!
    Lea
     

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