1. ShortBus
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    ShortBus Member

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    What are your views on perspective?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ShortBus, Apr 6, 2012.

    I'll be honest, I don't read very often. I do listen to some audiobooks while I'm at work occasionally. I don't have much of an opinion on this topic, but I think some of you guys might have one.

    First person vs. third person. Which is better in your opinion? Would you rather have; "I did this or that." or "Bob did this or that?"

    I'm asking this for more of a readers point of view rather than a writers.

    Thanks for your help. ☻☺
     
  2. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    For me it really matters on the story. I currently have written a third person narrative about a young boy which would fall into the genera of Young Adult Mystery, but I have also started a first person narrative from the view point of a 17 year old girl in the Sci-Fi genera. I feel it is really up to the author to figure out which works best for his storyline.

    I enjoyed reading third person in the past and then I read The Hunger Games (which I thought was very entertaining) and I really enjoyed that writing style as well.

    But it does come down to the author and their storyline (just to be redundant). I also feel that in kids books and young adult books it is mostly third person... if that helps.
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I'm with Bolger, it matters what the story is. Because some stories that are written in 3rd person just wouldn't be the same in first and vice versa. 3rd person is probably the more "popular" perspective, but that's not even really fair because there are different types of 3rd person (where you stick around one character or jump around different characters).
     
  4. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    I concur.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I usually write in third person because I get to use my own voice. And I like that. :)

    But sometimes, a character's voice is so strong you just have to defer to them. Salinger could not have written The Catcher in the Rye in third person; it needs the voice of Holden Caulfield. Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn needs the voice of Huck himself. In such cases, first person is absolutely called for.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A writer who doesn't read much is severely handicapped. Extensive and critical reading is the best way to answer this kind of question. Read first person and third person writing with an eye to the effects on the reader and the limitations imposed on the writer by each perspective.

    There are many threads on this topic. You could read those as well, but please do so in addition to, not instead of, reading literature.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer third person, but that's a very mild preference, and it's because I seem to see first person fail more often. When it's done well, I don't care at all.
     
  8. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    It depends on the story. Sometimes it will have more impact if it's in first person, since it gives us the idea we are seeing the whole thing through a character's eyes. But in other cases a omniscient narrator in third person would fit more. Personally, I find the narrator in third person with limited omniscient point of view to be the most interesting to work with, because it easier to trick the readers >:D Speaking as a reader, of course. I can be tricked very easily.
    You should read more, though, and find a perspective that you thinks it fits.
     
  9. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am under the impression that while third-person and first-person are equally difficult to make amazing, third-person is harder to screw up.

    Personally, I tend to use first-person when writing stories with a single main character, and the story is about that character's psychological journey, and third-person with more plot-driven stories with multiple main characters. The latter is what I usually write. I love writing about loads of characters. I feel a story written from one perspective is so limiting.
     
  10. Just Jon
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    Just Jon Member

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    I was going to say I preferred to read third person, but the comment above about Huckleberry Finn makes a splendid point. I guess it depends whether or not the actual voice of the main character lends something special to the telling of the story. I'm sure Mr. Twain could have told the story quite eloquently (the man had a way with words) even writing it as third-person limited, but Huck's version of it puts you right there. Long way of answering your question as "It depends."
     
  11. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    For me it depends on the story. If it can be told through a single set of eyes then first person is the way to go. Great for who done its, simply because you're putting out clues serially. When you have parallel events or multiple people developing the storyline then third person is the logical choice.
     
  12. Rybe
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    Rybe Member

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    I'm on the "it depends" bandwagon. Though I will say I prefer third person "over the shoulder"/limited over third person omniscient. It seems like the omniscient narrator should know what all is going on and should let us in on it! But that would spoil everything. I do enjoy first person, but have trouble doing it myself, and it seems like it would really only work in certain stories. Each has its advantages, in first you can screw around with your unreliable narrator and as a reader wind up wondering if you're being told the truth, or get an extremely personal glimpse into the character. In third you have the opportunity to sometimes get a more complete picture, which is critical to certain stories.
     
  13. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    ...and difficult to write, if I might add. Limiting perspective can also be good, as in a mystery story.

    I prefer both third and first but the most I enjoy writing is 1st person where the viewpoint character is not the MC but a secondary character. I have to 'show' everything about the MC and readers sort of have to make their own judgement, conclusion etc. about the MC. This keeps the readers fully engage.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes!

    Most of the time, when people post about limits, it's to complain about them or reject them. But the choice of first person perspective is all about imposing a limit, and that limit carries a certain power - the yang to the yin.

    By limiting yourself to a single perspective, you are sending a message to the reader: This is the story as this character perceives it, moment to moment. The truth of the matter may be revealed buy the end, but it remains a single point of view, and you may, at the end, decide there are still other valid interpretations.

    A third person perspective, with changes in POV, tends to imply more objectivity. The reader is more inclined to take it on faith that these are the facts of the story. It can be written as a possibly slanted viewpoint, but the author has to work slightly harder in third person to give that impression.

    Everything you can do in first person can, in fact, be done in third person with only slight changes. The converse is not the case. But there are still reasons to write in first person, if you are up to it. If you are ready to work within the limitations.

    Know your limits. And use them to advantage.
     
  15. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    This might sound like fence-sitting, but I agree with you, but plan to do nothing about it.

    Spring is here. For the past three days I've done nothing with my story. I haven't polished it, I haven't written new paragraphs, I haven't even followed up with a member here who's helping me.

    Considering I'm in a writing forum, I have to admit that I don't care. Oh, I care about the story and I love to write, but I have other pursuits and sometimes they come first.

    I do peruse books/magazines at the coffee bar, but that's a mixed bag. I might be engrossed in research, but then, I might be reading the latest hobbyist magazine for my job. Much of the reading is just trash because I wanted to both spend time with my wife and have a latte' while we're cooling our heels.

    There is some urgency. The member here found some big holes in my preface. I need to demonstrate I'm sincere in taking that advice. Then the sun came out, and I've been couped up since last autumn.
     

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