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First or Third person Options · View
AutumnWriter
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 9:51:06 AM

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Location: Rochester, United States
What is your writing preference in terms of Person?

I invariably use Third Person. I have a number of reasons. I have seen some good work in First Person, too. In my observation, most beginning writers tend toward First Person.

When writing in First, do you use the pov character as the observer/narrator or as the main character?

I have only seen Second Person succeed in poetry, although I have seen it from time to time in prose.

AW
DirtyMartini
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 6:44:43 PM

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AutumnWriter wrote:


I have seen some good work in First Person, too. In my observation, most beginning writers tend toward First Person.

When writing in First, do you use the pov character as the observer/narrator or as the main character?



I guess I fall into the "beginning writer" category here, as almost all my stories are written in first person...out of something like fifty stories, I think only five are written in third person...and interestingly enough, two out of my first three stories are third person...so, I sort of did the opposite of your observation...I've written more in first person as I went on...

My first person stories always use the pov character as the main character...for me, I find first person to be a bit more "personal" and, of course, it's easier to express the thoughts of the main character in first person...

Besides my earliest stories, the only other ones I wrote in third person was a story called "The New Years Eve Dance" an erotic story which I wrote in third person intentionally to "depersonalize" it...the tag line is "A somewhat personal story told in the third person...a story of hope..."

I won't get into my own personal life too much, though I think most people here know I lost someone dear to me a few years back, but that story is about a 50 year-old guy who finds love again at a dance...

The other third person story I did recently was one of my contest entries here "Maria's Chance To Celebrate"...I just had no reason to put myself in it...you might say there was no room for me...happy8

I once knew a drinker who had a moderating problem...

Rumple_deWriter
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 7:01:04 PM

Rank: Story Moderator
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DM, I like your new tag line. :)

As for first or third, while I've had some short story luck with first person, I tend to use third person. It does seem like most 'normal' beginning writers use first person, which, imho, is a mistake. First person is much harder to handle than is third, especially if the writer sticks to a limited or single POV.

Far too many newbies first person stories begin sounding like a police crime scene write-up.

As for second person,avoid, avoid, avoid.

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords.[/ - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

DirtyMartini
Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2011 7:17:52 PM

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Location: Earth, for now..., United States
Rumple_deWriter wrote:
DM, I like your new tag line. :)


Actually, Elaine came up with that one...so, you can give her credit, or blame as the case may be...

Interesting about first person sounding like a crime scene write-up...hopefully you weren't reading one of my stories when that thought came to mind...happy8

And I've read a few things about writing over the last year or two, and I've yet to see anyone say anything good about second person...I think that "avoid, avoid, avoid" advice is something that seems universally agreed upon in the writing world...

I once knew a drinker who had a moderating problem...

AutumnWriter
Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 5:50:41 AM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 6/3/2011
Posts: 18
Location: Rochester, United States

[/quote]

I guess I fall into the "beginning writer" category here, as almost all my stories are written in first person


*************

Just to clarify, I said that many beginning writers use First Person, but did not wish to imply that all users of First Person are beginners. Mark Twain, for example, used First Person extensively.

AutumnWriter
Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 7:22:50 AM

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Location: Rochester, United States
By using Third Person (TP) I believe the pov character(s) can be nuanced more than by using First (FP). The readers will accept various attitudes, moods, beliefs, etc. of the character and accept the character evolving over the course of the story. Even in possibly the greatest FP novel, Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", Huck, as the narrator, remains constant in these aspects while he tells the story relating the acts and words of the other characters. It is apparent that Huck's view of all that happens in the novel is actually the author's (Twain's) view.

If the story is in FP, then the author is saying, "This is me telling you how I view what is going on." If the author portrays oneself as having a dark side, being immature, or other bad trait, then the reader recoils and asks "if you're like this, why am I paying attention to you?" If an author wants to use a main character and/or pov character who has some flaws it goes much easier in TP.

In a story with multiple chapters FP is especially a handicap because each chapter or scene has to be seen through the eyes of the first person narrator. That means that no action can be portrayed first-hand without the presence of that narrator on the scene. In thase cases a FP narrator must rely on a second-hand recounting of off-camera events and that can be very limiting.

TP has some difficulties. It is harder to impart true, believable human feelings and emotions to a third person. I feel that is why some writers opt for FP. It also requires some discipline to avoid 'Headhopping Syndrome'.

My views on this are limited strictly to prose. If poetry, and other forms of the writing arts were in the discussion, then I believe my views might be more ambivalent on the subject.

Of course, if writing was easy, then everyone would be doing it and then where would we be?

AW


Rumple_deWriter
Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 5:44:39 PM

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Well put, AW Thoughtful and well-organized. So what are you doing hanging around the likes of DM and moi?. My all-fav first-person author is Raymond Chandler with is hard-boiled PI, Phillip Marlow novels. He's one of the very few writers, alongwith Faulkner and Terry Pratchett, I'll willing re-read.

DM, of course I wasn't thinking of your work when I mentioned 'police blotter syndrome' with many newbie writers, hones, no really, would I lie to you? :)

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords.[/ - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

writania3
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:39:11 AM

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I prefer writing in a third person point of view because for me, I could put in a lot of ideas onto each character and I feel not limited as to what actions I shall incorporate. It would also depend to what type of story you’re going to write. Maybe I would try to write a whole new story using the first person point of view and see if I can have a good outcome. Well, trying is always free for grabs. It just will take you a lot of effort to do so.

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ladysharon
Posted: Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:22:27 AM

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Location: Chicago
I tend to write in first person narration the majority of the time. I have a story I'm working on that's in third person narration to get out of my own head, so to speak. The eBook I'm working on is in first person, based on a series of private messages I received form an individual. We'll see how the story is received when I post it.

Rebellious_Soul
Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 7:11:46 PM

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I can write in either. It's just hard when switching between stories that are first person to those that are third. I remember a few times I wrote I said instead of she said. It's annoying but I eventually got past it. But preference wise... I say both have their benefits and flaws unique to each style used, so I just even out the stories and write some in first and others in third.

Because I can,
because I want to,
And because who are you to tell me otherwise?
Circle_Something
Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 8:06:42 PM

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Location: Glasgow-ish
I've been experimenting with both and I can't choose one preference. When I was younger, I always wrote in third person, but then I got older and started writing about personal stuff and it seemed more natural to write in first. I have this idea where I'd like to mix both of them at the same time, but I'm not really sure I could pull it off. No harm in trying though, is there?

Ghosts, flamingos, guitars and vodka. Don't forget Kitty and Kitten. Eclectic subjects, eccentric stories:

Humorous guide & Recommended Read =^.^= How To Make a Cup of Tea
A flash fiction series :) A Random Moment in Time
A love poem <3 Kitty & Kitten
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Survivor
Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 10:10:30 PM

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I have no preference whatsoever. The story dictates.



All I'm saying is you've never seen me crying and eating tacos at the same time.
frogprince
Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 12:03:55 AM

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The real challenge for a writer is second person. Most of my writing hasbeen first person. I usually write about my experiences. So it is first person. Occasionally it will be third person.as one earlier author wrote, it depends on the story. That is only too true.


I just keep hopping from place to place.
I never stay too long.
I just keep moving singing a song.
So you better stop me if you want to chat.
Or you will never know where I am at.
Rumple_deWriter
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 6:09:17 AM

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Andy, there's no 'right or wrong' answer. The only question is which will best help you tell your tale.

First person is more intimate but it restricts a writer to the narrator's point of view.

Third is the most flexible and is, by far, the most often used these days in fiction. The only genre I can think of where first person is common is in detective novels and many of today's suspense/mystery books are also in third person.

SS is a great place to try different approaches to story telling. BUT (note that's a big, but) if you just feel lead to try switching from first to third person or vice versa, do so sparingly and with great caution. A drink or two is also advisable. :)

Also and in addition, if you do give it a try, it might be best to send a message along with your submission warning the mods what's coming their way.

Good luck.

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords.[/ - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Schemers Scheme -- young women talking about young men

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding

DirtyMartini
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:06:18 PM

Rank: Rest in Peace

Joined: 10/12/2010
Posts: 3,402
Location: Earth, for now..., United States
Rumple_deWriter wrote:
A drink or two is also advisable. :)



That is a sound piece of advice there Reverend, and maybe the best piece of advice I've yet seen in this here forum...

I agree with Andrew Something about stuff getting more personal, and first person lends itself well to expressing thoughts and feelings type stuff...most of my stories are in first person...

My latest story posted on this fine site is sort of a mix of first and third actually...it starts off in third, and sorta/kinda switches to first when the main character, who is me, shows up...I think it works, but that's just my opinion...that story "Dream Job" was written back in 2009 and was my fifth attempt at writing btw...

I once knew a drinker who had a moderating problem...

Tempy
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:37:54 AM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 3/8/2013
Posts: 40
I can write in both to a good standard. However if you ask again this time about tense then you might get a different answer.
burnt7
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 4:45:27 PM

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Location: Western Cape, South Africa

Would Somebody please write a few lines in SP and highlite it's pro's and con's.
.......................


When You Don't Feel Like Smiling, Smile Anyway
RedSonja
Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:59:34 PM

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Joined: 4/21/2013
Posts: 9
Location: just visiting this planet, United States
One of my favourite "new" authors, Michael Gruber (Tropic of Night, The Good Son) deftly moves between FP present narrative, FP present journal (bringing in backstory via accounts of earlier events as seen by an "earlier version" of the pov/main character), and TP omniscient; the latter covering pretty much all that was left out, advancing the plot and introducing new characters. He creates remarkably layered story using this combo of devices/voice. And occasionally throws in some poetry, for the likes of me.

Tricky, and for longer works. I can only imagine the post-its, like feathers linked on a yarn wire-frame wing, on his corkboard outlines...
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