1. tarynalicia
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    tarynalicia Member

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    Style First Person Vs. Third Person

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by tarynalicia, Oct 15, 2013.

    Okay so I started off my story in third person because I've read a lot of books lately that have been in first and they've been so poorly done that it's turned me off. However, since starting my story, I've also written a few first person excerpts on the side and I feel like I've done better writing in those excerpts then I did with my third person story line.

    My issue right now is, if I go to first person, will it confuse readers if I jump between characters? How would I go about using first person without confusing readers as to who is thinking what and when?

    My main idea is just to bounce between the male and female protagonist with the bad guy jumping in every once and awhile but I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do, or should I stick with one person the entire story? What if I break it up by chapters? Like one chapter it would be her, the next him, so on and so forth?

    What are your opinions on this?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I think it would be odd that the author, the I in the story, somehow can in great detail write about what their enemies and friends did as well.
    I know it would work from an oral stand but when writing...?

    It would not confuse the readers as long as you keep the other characters in third person. The author cannot be an I for everyone unless the entire book is excerpts or pieces written by the others as well.. a kind of collection of different PoVs over a single event.

    Hmm... I think it's been done before though.
    Can't remember where.. If you told the story more as a storyteller than a personal account maybe...

    I am useless at answering this.
     
  3. Flocka
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    Flocka Member

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    I have this same problem! It is so easy for me to write as first person but I really do not enjoy reading books or stories like that.
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, have either of you read anything by David Wong?
    It's in first person and I find it well done. I completely felt like I was being told a personal experience.
    Get a sample or two on the net, might help.
     
  5. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I just found This book is full of spiders on Amazon the other day... I ended up ordering it. Yeah, I agree with A.M.P. David Wong does a good job at telling a story in first person. I like it when the narrative sounds like someone is actually talking to me rather than dictating the story in a formal tone.
     
  6. tarynalicia
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    tarynalicia Member

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    I just purchased the e-book copy on kobo. I'll definitely read it soon!
     
  7. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Write each different character in a different chapter. You could also name the chapter after the character or just put it somewhere. Using a different font also helps. Jodi Picoult uses this in 'Nineteen Minutes' and 'House Rules' (I think) At least in House Rules. I can remember each chapter name being the name of the POV it is from
     
  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You can write some chapters in 1st person, some in 3rd, but it'll be clearer if they are from different characters' povs. The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko mixes them up. Anton's chapters are 1st person, Igor's 3rd person. It's an urban fantasy series, pretty popular too, especially in Europe and Russia.
     
  9. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    The big problem with doing multiple first person narrators for most writers is that they all end up having the same voice. Bob sounds just like Alice, even though Alice is a girl and Bob is a hyper-dimensional being from Neptune who's come to Earth to understand this thing we call love.

    If you can keep your voices distinct enough, sticking to one narrator per chapter and signifying who's talking in the chapter-head should be enough to stop your readers being confused.

    Side note: if you think you write better in first person, you're going to be better off writing in first person. Don't be put off just because other people messed it up.
     
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  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    There have been multiple threads on this topic. If you do a search, you can probably find everything there is to say on it fairly quickly.
     
  11. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Another book I have read with alternating POVs is "The Tragedy Paper" by Elizabeth LaBan. In it, Duncan's POV is written in the third person. He listens to some sound recordings, recorded by Tim, who tells him the story. The effectively makes Tim's POV in the first person and you find you become Duncan and have Tim telling the story to you. Just an interesting approach for this sort of thing
     

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