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first or third?

  1. first

    4 vote(s)
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  2. third

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. second

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    0.0%
  1. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    The decision to write in first or third person.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Sarah's scribbles, Jul 25, 2015.

    K so I'm starting a story I did the first chapter in a bit of narration exposition. Time to start the actual story though so I have a question. How do you normally decide which is better first or third person. I vary back and forth between the two of them. I'm not sure whether or not I'm better at one over the other one. I find I can get more into the character from first person but I end up jumping from a first person perspective over several characters over a segmented time period. With third person I can explain more but I find I lack some of the emotion I can put in from first person. I often don't have trouble deciding it's simple as what I start working in. Right now though I am not sure. if details on the story idea or where I am starting would help with the decision simply let me know.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you're connecting better with first person, stick with they. Head-hopping isn't prohibited.
     
  3. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    My view on it is that:
    First Person is better for a more personal story like coming of age stories (Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein) and even horror stories where you want to see only what the MC sees/hears about. It's a way to focus in on said persons perspective and a better way to tell emotional stories and horror.

    As for Third Person I think it's better for just a general story. Where you want to show the reader a lot and not just focus on one character like you would in first person. It would allow you to describe different groups/people and why each of them do what they do. Such as in a war novel you would be able to see why each side fights (if that is what you wish to do). It also helps with showing off details that maybe your MC might not pick up or doesn't really care about on a personal level.

    Basically to simplify how I feel is:
    First Person: More detailed into how the person feels and sees things.
    Third Person: More detail in the little things the MC may not notice and insight into other important events.
     
  4. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    True. I have read novels before like that. I guess I will just have to focus some on my head hopping.
     
  5. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Usually, I choose 1st person if I want to convey a really unique voice or if I want to hide something from the reader that would be untenable in 3rd (e.g. certain situations where the POV character isn't honest with himself). I choose 3rd limited for everything else.

    You should be able to get the same voice, motion, and character into 3rd as you do 1st, but follow Steerpike's advice if 1st works better for you. Maybe you could experiment by writing part of a chapter in each and see which works better. One thing I've noticed is that switching back and forth between direct thought and action can be more difficult to pull off with 3rd than with 1st, and you have to make sure you have a good transition. For example, if you wanted to insert a character's interior thoughts about this thread, you could write:

    She couldn't believe it when she saw the author of the thread was "Sarah's scribbles." If this didn't prove someone had stolen her password, nothing would. (italics optional)

    There are some good 3rd person limited short story contest winners on this forum that show 3rd limited can achieve the exact same voice, emotion, and character as 1st. You could look them over if you want to see how they achieved this.
     
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  6. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    This helps me some. the story is somewhat both so I find I should probably go with first person. It'll help out along the way i suppose.
     
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  7. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Thanks. I might check them out. perhaps it's simply my own falter then in not being able to obtain the same voice in third. Thank you for taking the time to post on my thread.

    Side note- is something wrong with my username? I thought it was cute when I came up with it?
     
  8. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    Glad to be of service :)
     
  9. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I think it's fine. :)
     
  10. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ditto what Daemon Wolf said above. I was just using it as a random example.

    Good luck.
     
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  11. Sarah's scribbles
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    Sarah's scribbles Member

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    Oh onkay thank you.
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, usually third person.

    For you, first person, because you prefer it. I do feel that it's harder to do first person well than it is to do third person well, and that that leads to a lot of bad first person stories. But "harder" doesn't mean "you'll probably fail", it just means...harder.
     
  13. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I always liked doing first person stories more than I like doing third person. Hell I don't even remember the last time I wrote a third person story.
     
  14. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    I respect third person stories. They usually feel more well rounded to me. You get to see the whole world instead of just one person's view of it. However, I connect more with my characters and therefore, I believe I write better in first person. I guess I feel like I need to know them (my characters, I mean). Who they are, what they want, and even their little idiosyncrasies, before I can tell their story. If its less about who they are and more about the world they are in, then I get stuck. I am sure if I pushed past it I could write it, but I prefer to stick to what I am good at. But I do respect you third person writers.
     
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