1. Celtika
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    Celtika Member

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    First Person V Third person

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Celtika, Jul 1, 2013.

    How do you prefer to write?

    Personally, i enjoy reading books more when it's written from a third person perspective e.g ''harry said'' but when i write, i find myself a lot more comfortable writing from the first person e.g ''I said'.

    My question is, which point of view do you prefer to read/write from, and what do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of them?

    I have found that when writing from a first-person point of view, it's a lot easier to portray the emotions of that character, but in the Novel i am writing, i am just about to start introduce multiple characters, and i also plan on writing those from a first-person point of view too, and i'm wondering if it's something that will actually work out or not.
     
  2. JindleBrey
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    JindleBrey Member

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    I always find that if I've just read a book in 1st/3rd person, I will automatically write in that perspective. (Not that I've actually ever wrote a book).
     
  3. JindleBrey
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    JindleBrey Member

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    But I think it depends on the book as to what one you should use.
     
  4. New Konoiche
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    New Konoiche Member

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    I'm actually the opposite of you, it seems. I much prefer writing from 3rd person and have never really been able to successfully utilize 1st person (I have tried, but it just never works). On the other hand, I tend to read more books that are written in 1st person.
     
  5. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I like books of both. I prefer to write in both lol. Well, third person means you can't be that connected to the character as much as first person. In first person, there's a trap of going off a tangent or something and portraying your character the right way. Those are only some, imo.
     
  6. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Third is my favorite, though both are fine.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree - IMO, a close third person limited view can be just as close to the character.
     
  8. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I don't really have a preference, as third- and first-person have their own strengths and weaknesses that can benefit or hinder according to character, plot, and the tone you're aiming for. There's a book I randomly picked up called Imager by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. that I expected to be a good read. Unfortunately, I didn't actually look inside the book before buying it. It ended up being written in first-person and I couldn't bring myself to read past a few paragraphs. It just didn't work for me from what I knew of the story (just the back cover blurb). I really need to go back and try reading it again so I can figure out what was wrong, or if I've grown up since then.

    First- and close third-person are great for limiting your readers' knowledge. Not only are they limited to what those characters know and experience, you can feed them misdirection and lies to keep the story going. It also tends to be a more intimate story, as you're practically reading the mind of an individual as they go through some serious stuff. You also make the character(s) and their experiences and reactions the focal point of the story. Regular third-person (or at least the non-close varieties) allow you to be more straightforward and you're not able to hide as much (if anything) from the reader. You're also distancing the readers from the characters (at least somewhat) so the story tends to take front stage.

    I'm pretty sure there are a number of good examples of multi-character first-person POV books out there but I don't know of any. The novel I wrote in my teens was that way and I think I failed miserably (I haven't had the will to read it recently so I don't really know). Just be studious in differentiating who is who when you transition and you should be fine.
     
  9. swordsandpens
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    swordsandpens New Member

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    Writing in first person for multiple persons would be a heck of a challenge, but if you pull it off it would have all the benefits of both first (e.g. up-close view of the action, story seems more personal) and third (e.g. dramatic irony, broader view of events). Aside from the difficulty, the only issue I can think of is that third person is best for exposition, so I'd steer clear of this if you plan to spend a lot of time with the scenery.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not really, because the advantages of first person accrue mostlu from the singular focus on that one character.

    What you get from multiple first person POVs is all the disadvantages of first and third POV.

    I HAVE seen two first person POVs used to effect in one novel, but it worked despite the split first person POV's disadvantages. It was a fairly unique situation, with a well-known primary character, and limited glimpses from the adversary's POV.
     
  11. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I find that 1st person needs the character's voice and 3rd person needs the writer's voice. In 1st person the character's prejudices, way of speaking, and way of looking at the world influences how the story is told, whereas 3rd person you can remove yourself from that and write in a less restricted and biased way, excepting, of coarse, the dialogue. The writer's voice, however, can be anything and a lot more cruder and biased than the character.
     
  12. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    First person all the way. As already hit upon, when you only get one character's view of things then you don't get beat over the head with the writer's vision of the fictional world. This let's the reader be misled sometimes (which can be fun), but also gives the reader more freedom to envision other characters however they want. Is the love interest really a cheating hussy, or is the MC just a paranoid jealous douche? Then again I am very much on the side of NOT making every facet of a story crystal clear to the reader. Main plot points need resolving. But many minor parts of a story benefit from letting the reader fill in the gaps with their own imagination. The beauty of written stories is that if you give the same novel to ten people, you can get ten views on what it "really" means. I personally feel first-person enhances that.
     
  13. tammijean
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    tammijean New Member

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    This completely depends on what kind of plot you are working with. Is it a primarily internal conflict with one mc? first person is excellent for that. Are there several contributing characters whose thoughts and motives need to be made clear? It is a case by case decision.

    however... I do find writing in third person easier, bc. I don't need to reimagine one character's actions or reactions through the perspective of another.
     
  14. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    I've always leaned towards third person myself, but I'm now in the process of writing a first-person novella, and boy, do I like it. 3rd person allows more emphasis on auxiliary characters, but first person perspective allows a very vivid portrait of the main character, sometimes more than a third-person story could provide. I like the idea of playing around with the language, and how that reveals the character's psychology.
     
  15. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    I like multiple first-person POV, where first-person POV is used, but we switch from one character to another from time to time. It can be confusing at first, so the author will need to clarify whose POV it is.

    Is it possible to combine first-person with third-person?
     
  16. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    I don't have enough experience writing stories to weigh in on which I prefer, but I think it's funny that I stumbled upon this question because I just finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger about a week ago. It is written in first person from the perspective of two characters. It goes back and forth between their perspectives. It was a little confusing at the very beginning, but it worked. That being said, it's probably something you should do only when necessary, when not doing so would cause the story to lose something important.
     
  17. Countess Word
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    Countess Word New Member

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    First-person or third-person, I don't mind writing from either perspective, but I'm super picky when it comes to reading from a first-person point of view!
     
  18. Ocinatu
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    Ocinatu New Member

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    I've almost always written in first person... in my new little project I plan to write in first person (the main character) but also write about some of the other characters in third person, since I have a few different characters. I hope this will work out, and I think it will make the whole story more interesting, if the readers can get to know a bit what's going on in the other characters' heads as well as the MC. I could have written the story in third person of course, but I like too much to write in first person about this main character. I remember to have read one book written like that, and it worked in that one.
     
  19. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Writing: First person/present tense all the way.
    Reading: I'll read anything worth my time.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    First person with multiple POVs can work. You need to make it clear when you are switching heads, like changing chapters when you switch.

    "The Poisonwood Bible" by Kingsolver tells the story quite well switching to different daughter's POVs.
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Of course it can work. The novel Ginger points out is one example. I've just finished Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World which was intimidatingly good. Also, Robert Silverberg's The Book of Skulls comes to mind as another excellent example.
     
  22. wolfenburg
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    wolfenburg Member

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    I find third person much more enjoyable to read. Same with my writing.
     

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