1. Dan Rhodenizer
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    Dan Rhodenizer Member

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    Third-Person or First-Person?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dan Rhodenizer, Jul 26, 2007.

    As I been doing research I came across this. You are blocked from accessing EzineArticles.com

    I was wondering if I should change my sci-fi story to 3rd person before I get too far into it. It had some good points and what not.

    Should I go first person or 3rd person for fiction story's? Or does it not really matter? Thanks.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dan,

    The author of the article makes some interesting comments and supports why they feel that third person is a superior POV to use than first person, however, it is their opinion based on their writing style.

    If you're talking about fiction (not personal experiences or academic papers), the choice is more open.

    I have seen some markets (especially some horror markets) say they prefer not to see first person stories, but for the most part if it is a good story and well written, from the appropriate POV then it is not an issue.

    The statement from the article:
    is an opinion and not a statement of fact.

    Also from the article:
    That would depend on how the writer approached the story, what was going on, etc. If it is a story with only one character doing everything and there is no interaction, I would see this as a stronger arguement against first person than an average story with a lot going on, and muliple characters and events going on, all not initiated by the protagonist of the story.

    Scanning magazines and ezines, there tends to be more third person than first person, but it is still out there. Of the two short stories I've managed to get published, one was third person and the other first person.

    Of the novels out there, third person seems more common, but there are a fair number of successful authors that write in first person POV.

    If, however, the article resonates with you and the story you're working on would be stronger and better told from the third person POV (and note there are different types of third person: limited, omniscient, and dramatic), switching from first person POV earlier rather than later would save some time and effort.

    Terry
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My feeling is that unless there is a compelling reason, third person is the best for fiction. Third person is the most familiar form of narrative, so the user is not distracted from the story by the viewpoint.

    Even if you are telling the story from the first person perspective, you can tell it using third person for most of the text, by concentrating on the surroundings the narrator observes. Every incursion into "I" reminds the reader that he or she is not in the story, but is visiting in someone else's skin.

    First person works best when the story is focusing on the narrator's feelings, and utilizing a distorted perspective of events because of feelings. The continual reminder that the reader is once removed from the action has to be weighed against the soul's eye view of your lead character. Also, once you choose to tell the story from inside your lead character's skin, you really need to stay there, so you can't really jump to events not known to the character at that time.

    I don't think first person is a poor choice, but it is more limiting and requires a lot of discipline to keep it on track. Second person very rarely works, and I would avoid it like the plague. Third person is challenging enough, to make good decisions about what to reveal and what to hold back on.

    At least with third person, the reader's attention won't be on that choice you made.

    As an example of first person, the Patricia Cornwell novel The Last Precinct uses first person because the central character spends most of the book dealing with the aftermath of a brutal attack that nearly ended her life. Even so, almost everyone who has read the book was keenly aware of that first person perspective, and many found it annoying.
     
  4. PaidWriting
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    PaidWriting New Member

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    With exception to how-to articles second person is clumsy for most writing tasks.

    I agree with Cogito that first person works well for expressions of emotional stance.
     

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