1. Kayson Mire Kizmet
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    Kayson Mire Kizmet New Member

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    First vs third person... What's better?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kayson Mire Kizmet, Dec 18, 2013.

    I am trying to write a story, and I'm stuck on whether to write it in first person, or third person.
    I'd love to get it written in first person, but I find it difficult to write in.
    What do you guys recommend, and what tips?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Neither one is inherently better. It depends on what the writer is trying to accomplish. My only tip would be to read some pieces written in first person and some written in third person. Look at the limitations and strengths/weaknesses of each POV and decide which one is best for your story.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Ditto what Third said - also, you could try writing a scene for your story in both pov's of view testing to see which one you like, and which one works best.
     
  4. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    First is better. All situations. All the time. Makes it sound like you were really involved in the action and thus readers will be more excited.

    Or not.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    While I agree neither is better, I keep thinking 'fad' when I hear yet another first person narrative. It's probably not fair on my part, it's purely gut reaction.
     
  6. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    The advantage of the third is the ability to describe events the first person cannot. HG Wells mixed them in some of his novels. He shifted from third to first and back again in The Time Machine, then went from first to third and back to first in The War of the Worlds. I can't recall that being done by any other author, but I haven't read 'em all like some seem to have accomplished.

    Like MLM says, though, first person is the writer seeing it happen. The main character does not necessarily need to be the narrator, but say if you were the neighbor watching the woman next door hauling out a particularly lumpy oriental rug, you might decide to follow her.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Mieville does in Perdido Street Station. The story starts with the 1st person inner dialogue of a Garuda - almost, but not quite, as a prologue - goes to 3rd person and flips back to the Garuda's 1st person a couple of times between chapters as a kind of interlude.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First has specific virtues, but it;s a more limited POV than third, and is harder to do well. My recommendation is to stick with third unless you have a clear reason for choosing first. If you can't decide, it is most likely because you don't fully understand the more subtle characteristics of the perspectives. In that case, I would recommend third because it is the more general and versatile of your options.

    But better? Neither is inherently better. And despite what you might hear, first is not intrinsically more intimate than third.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :oops:I need to correct this. I was referring to first person present tense as the fad I meant. My whole novel is first person switching between three people before the end of the duology. I need a rest.:rolleyes:
     
  10. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    Okay... I called the cops:p
     
    Cogito and GingerCoffee like this.
  11. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the answer to this is yes.
     
  12. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Something to keep in mind is that which person you write in is not point of view, it's an authorial choice as to which personal pronouns are used. There are strengths, and weaknesses, of first second and third person, as has already been noted, and it pays to learn what they are so you can make an informed choice. It also pays to learn the ways of applying and using POV, because it's what makes us love one character and hate another.
     
  13. Juju Bagdasarian
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    Juju Bagdasarian Member

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    Both are very good , simply put in one you are god, and the other a human or an alien (depending :p). in third person or god mode you choose what you present to the reader and the other as a human you miss things unwilingly , ( you are a god in both cases but in first person you can be a clumsy one ) :D
     
  14. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    There's also third person limited verses the more omniscient kind.
     
  15. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Personally, I prefer writing in the first person be it past or present tense. My current MS is written in first person, past tense: An introduction written by the MC's older sister followed by a series of diary entries showing the MC's emotional decline and eventual suicide. I find I have the opposite problem you do. I simply cannot write in third person. I find it difficult to get my point across as well as finding it extremely detached. When I tell a story, I want to tell it from the perspective of the ones who lived the events, not some outside observer if that makes sense.
     
  16. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    Whichever works best for you.
    You are not required to stick to any one in particular.

    You may find first person past to be easier than first person present.

    You will almost certainly need to slip to third person in order to convey descriptive narrative, events away from the narrator and thoughts of other characters.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, Mieville does it. And I've read a number of other books that do it as well. I don't think it is considered as strange a thing to do as it might have been some years ago.
     
  18. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Whatever works.

    Find a story that you like and try and figure out why it's written that way and how it works.
     
  19. Juju Bagdasarian
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    Juju Bagdasarian Member

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    In the end, it always comes down to what you want to do , and what makes you feel better . :D
     
  20. DrWhozit
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    DrWhozit Banned

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    This is something I just considered as I'm doing the 4th and final edit of that work I mentioned earlier. In this story, 1st person past tense, there are more than one MC so more than one narrator. Unlike some, this intends to be a trilogy where the last book capitalizes on this switcheroo dramatically. Save for intrinsic grammar, writing is a wide open birth canal. Think of "Spoon River Anthology." A plethora of first person narratives. Think of how Bill Cosby treats his monologues as a string of short jokes and punch lines extracted from his childhood. Consider the Vagina Mommalogues...
     
  21. M. B. Wright
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    M. B. Wright Member

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    I personally can't see myself writing or reading in first person. It's not my preference. However, I'm not used to it either. I started reading Hunger Games and I couldn't get past the first chapter. It was a paradigm shift for me. 3rd person isn't as closed as 1st person and I can't stand being so closed and not knowing all or at least most of the details. In 1st person, you only know what the main character knows. In 3rd person, there is a degree of omniscience that gives the story depth. 3rd person is my personal favorite, but I suppose it is my duty to try different things at least once in my life, right? I'll have to get on that...
     
  22. Darryl Brooks
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    Darryl Brooks New Member

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    We like first person plural
     

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