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  1. Penny1234

    Penny1234 Member

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    Should I stick to first person?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Penny1234, Feb 27, 2019.

    I'm about a third of the way through my new book. (Which I have re-written) but for the first time in my writing journey I have chosen to write in first person. Previously having only written in third person. I made the decision because I wanted a more 'intimate feel' of my characters thoughts and feelings which are important to the story.
    I've enjoyed the challange, however recently I've had the recommendation to write in third person because the book is set in France. (Following an English student's journey out there. Its her first experience of france too.) The town is made up and its a fantasy/adventure plot. The recommendation came as I have never actually been to France before. (I've only driven through on my way to Germany) And they worried it may not seem authentic through my characters eyes.

    Now I wondered how much it matters? I want this book to be right, and since I've always been told 1st person is hard to pull off or not regarded as highly as 3rd. (Don't ask me why I've been told that. I disagree, but now I struggle to escape that association.) I'm wondering if I've made the right decision?

    (Hope this made sense. I'm washed out today with an awful stomach flu.)

    Thanks
    Penny
     
  2. Harmonices

    Harmonices Member

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    I'm not sure I understand this person's reasoning. Maybe they think it would be easier to make broad suggestive sweeps in third person, while first person is more detailed and specific?

    Personally, I don't think it should be a major issue for you if you do your research. Not just information but more informal and personal reportage.
    Food blogs, travel blogs. Why not check out YouTube too, I'm sure there will be some teenagers on there, talking about their first visit to France.

    Fantasy adventure? So you're not writing high literature? And it sounds like it's YA due to the protagonist's age. First person would be ideal for this audience I think.
     
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  3. EBohio

    EBohio Active Member

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    [QUOTE="Penny1234, post: 1753774, member: 88823" I want this book to be right, and since I've always been told 1st person is hard to pull off or not regarded as highly as 3rd.
    [/QUOTE]

    Who told you that? "Catcher In The Rye" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" are two of my favorite novels. They wouldn't be half as enjoyable if in 3rd person.

    ETA: What happened up there? Did I miss a ] or something?
     
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  4. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    Agree with the other responses. In either case (1st or 3rd person) you want to be as accurate as possible in description of details. Which “eyes” you are telling the story through does not seem as relevant as giving scene detail that you can acquire from many sources without personally visiting the site. Suggestion: Get a preliminary beta read or two on what you’ve written so far and see if it “rings true.”
     
  5. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    Ugh, forget it. The quote feature seems to be malfunctioning...

    To put it simply OP, don't worry about first vs. third person; if you're writing in close third person there really isn't much difference anyway. What you should worry about is making sure your fictional city "feels" like it's in France. That is how you'll make your story seem authentic.
     
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  6. Gary Wed

    Gary Wed Member

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    I have no idea why it would be better if in 1st or 3rd, simply because the book has French characters in it?
    Also, we all need to stop saying 3rd person. Every time I hear someone say that I instantly want to know how they are defining their 3rd person viewpoint. Elven alluded to it because most contemporary 3rd person work is either limited 3rd or multiple limited 3rd. Then there are the various forms of omniscience and even reporter form, just to get started on that.

    So, let me make an assumption, here. Suppose the reviewer noticed that much of the story comes to us via various views. A local, perhaps, and then in the next chapter the main character. If that is the case, MULTIPLE LIMITED 3rd, might make some sense, and that would make 1st person harder to sell. It really does matter what we are talking about here, so there's that.

    As to the idea of promoting the Frenchness of the work, that is an issue of view and voice. If the work is about an English person in a foreign land, then the view is English, the voice is persuaded by the English, and the idea that the voice of the work needs to be French is idiotic. The Frenchness is going to be the externalities to that, and contrasts to the view.
     
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  7. LazyBear

    LazyBear Member Supporter

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    I'd find it hard to follow if first person jumps between character perspectives, but third person feels too distant for me, like reading a police report.
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Well, there are a lot of different third person styles and voices. For example, do Harry Potter and Hitchhiker's Guide and American Gods all feel like a police report to you?
     
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  9. Darius Marley

    Darius Marley Member

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    This is something I struggled with about a week ago, while drafting my WIP. I'm about 50k words deep, and I decided to try third person as I kept writing. After about 2k words, I decided to scrap that idea, and stick with first person.

    Here's why: My character is not a bad guy, but not entirely good either. He's very immature and tends to learn things the hard way. After seeing how my story reads in third person, I decided that my readers will have more fun with a first person POV.

    But... another book I will write after my current WIP is totally different. It's fantasy/horror, and I think third person will work much better for that one. Or maybe not. I haven't even developed a strong main character for that one yet. I'll probably know more when I hit 50k words.
     

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