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third vs first person


corvus

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I looked through past threads and was surprised I didn't find anything on this. I probably didn't look carefully enough. :unsure:

 

In any case, I am three chapters deep in a story that I'm writing from a first person POV. I've only written in first person once before, and let's just say that that did not turn out well. So I've mostly used third person. The purpose of this thread, therefore, is to marvel at the differences between writing in third person and first person. :P

 

Because I'm so used to writing in third person, it's harder for me to maintain a tone that isn't mine. I keep having to remind myself that my character wouldn't use this word, wouldn't say something like this, etc. Since my third person is usually limited and not omniscient, I don't have trouble with wanting to tell things that my character shouldn't know. I do find, however, that I feel more strongly about my main protagonist than with anything I've written before. I haven't managed to decide if it's the character him/herself, or the POV. In any case, it's a good experience; we'll see how it turns out when I finish the story, hopefully before end of the coming summer...

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The trick is to figure out what POV is most suitable for the story. The one I cannot seem to do very well is 3rd limited. If I go third, I'm all over the story's universe. With 1st person, the protagonist, at least in my story, is who I become. My emotions seem to change as the events unfold in my mind. With 3rd omniscient, I can be anywhere I want to be. I still have those characters who are most important, but peripheral characters will find themselves somehow getting mixed into the lives of the main character, or characters. The soap opera type of story is a whole lot of fun for me to write. Others find 3rd omniscient too demanding, but I like it. 3rd limited seems to be the only one I cannot do, although I am trying it for summer anthology. :)

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I looked through past threads and was surprised I didn't find anything on this. I probably didn't look carefully enough. :unsure:

 

In any case, I am three chapters deep in a story that I'm writing from a first person POV. I've only written in first person once before, and let's just say that that did not turn out well. So I've mostly used third person. The purpose of this thread, therefore, is to marvel at the differences between writing in third person and first person. :P

 

Because I'm so used to writing in third person, it's harder for me to maintain a tone that isn't mine. I keep having to remind myself that my character wouldn't use this word, wouldn't say something like this, etc. Since my third person is usually limited and not omniscient, I don't have trouble with wanting to tell things that my character shouldn't know. I do find, however, that I feel more strongly about my main protagonist than with anything I've written before. I haven't managed to decide if it's the character him/herself, or the POV. In any case, it's a good experience; we'll see how it turns out when I finish the story, hopefully before end of the coming summer...

 

 

Third person limited is my woobie. :lol: I'm completely entranced by authors who can make first person work, because I completely fail at it. :P Can't wait to read the new fic.

 

With 1st person, the protagonist, at least in my story, is who I become. My emotions seem to change as the events unfold in my mind.

 

Yes! That's how I imagine it should be, but I can't seem to make the connection. I've often wondered if I have some inherent fear of putting too much of myself into the story.

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Oh, I absolutely love first person!

 

Third person is the scary thing! There was a discussion about this, but it wasn't a specific thread, it was more like a tangent.

 

Anyhow, writing in first person is easy and you don't necessarily have to put yourself into it, like your thoughts and feeling, where it starts to feel preachy or autobiographical. First, create the character and then develop him or her really, really well. So when you start writing, the character in a way, does take on a life of its own. It's like, what would they say? What would they do?

 

I guess it's a matter of practice or comfort.

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Oh, I absolutely love first person!

 

Third person is the scary thing! There was a discussion about this, but it wasn't a specific thread, it was more like a tangent.

 

Anyhow, writing in first person is easy and you don't necessarily have to put yourself into it, like your thoughts and feeling, where it starts to feel preachy or autobiographical. First, create the character and then develop him or her really, really well. So when you start writing, the character in a way, does take on a life of its own. It's like, what would they say? What would they do?

 

I guess it's a matter of practice or comfort.

 

I began my first published novel in 1st POV. I abandoned that and rewrote it in 3rd OM. I did this not because it was difficult but rather that it was limiting.

IMO Raymond Chandler is the past master of 1st POV. He's one of my favorites and sooo good at telling a story.

 

"The race may not always be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet." ~ Damon Runyon

 

Michael

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I have mostly used 3rd person POV in my stories except for Man's Best Friend and Reminiscence. But then the latter was from the perspective of a dog, so that needed to be in 1st person. :P

 

I don't have a problem with 1st person POV, but I am more comfortable with 3rd person. For Alpha and Omega, I use 3rd person omniscient throughout, but the scenes are first person limited.

 

:)

 

BeaStKid

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I write in either point of view, but I find it's easier for me to mix them up with my stories. I can't write in one or the other. In fact, 'A Butterfly's Dream' is the one story that I've tried to write in third person. It's new and kinda hard, but I'm dealing with the urge to write in first person with journal entries. It's...interesting not to mix the p.o.v.s like I usually do.

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For me, I don't write in first person because it's what I want. I write in first person because it's what I think is best for the story. I write in the perspective that I think the story would be best written in.

 

What I like about first person stories is that it IS one-sided. It lets the readers decide on their own what they think of a character based on how the narrator sees him. Some people would say that it is a "beginner's" POV, but I disagree. Writing in third person won't turn a beginner into a pro.

 

I don't think a story will sound preachy and autobiographical if you put yourself into it. That is, unless that is really what you intend to do. When I put myself in my character's shoe, the first thing I notice is the difference between us, like some things he would do, I wouldn't.

 

Though I'm not a fan of shifting POV's, I don't think it's wrong. There are some writers who can pull those off really well. I just shake my head at the close-minded idiots who think writing that way is wrong. I consider writing an art, and for me, art is an expression of freedom. For someone to set boundaries on it... that really ticks me off. But I digress.

 

Third person, I think, is very good at showing the personality of the writer; you can see it from the way the story is told. Some sound like a really cool friend, while some sound like a haughty professor talking to a five-year-old. With third person, I find the freedom very addicting. Like TL, I go all-out when I write in third person. Third person is also a great way to define each character of the story.

 

 

Rad :)

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I write in either point of view, but I find it's easier for me to mix them up with my stories. I can't write in one or the other. In fact, 'A Butterfly's Dream' is the one story that I've tried to write in third person. It's new and kinda hard, but I'm dealing with the urge to write in first person with journal entries. It's...interesting not to mix the p.o.v.s like I usually do.

I won't let you... :P

 

Yes, the freedom that Third Person POV provides can be luring, but it needs to be handled really well, lest you get carried away... ;)

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I write in either point of view, but I find it's easier for me to mix them up with my stories. I can't write in one or the other. In fact, 'A Butterfly's Dream' is the one story that I've tried to write in third person. It's new and kinda hard, but I'm dealing with the urge to write in first person with journal entries. It's...interesting not to mix the p.o.v.s like I usually do.

I've been known to use journal entries myself. However, I only seem to do so in stories that are already 1st-person. The level of freedom makes it interesting to me. It gives me a chance to explore the feelings of more than one character while I still maintain the benefits of having the story told from the main character's POV. :)

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I think it depends on what kind of story you're writing. First person gives a unique perspective but it's inherently very limited. If some of your characters take off on you and get really complex, or your plot gets complex, that can be very frustrating.

 

Everybody's Wounded is the only story I've ever written in first person and frankly I regret it. I really wish I'd done it in third person from the start and I expect if I ever do anything with it, I will rewrite it. The second book is in third person (and it's a second book rather than the second half of the story) precisely because I want it to be in third person.

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I think it depends on what kind of story you're writing. First person gives a unique perspective but it's inherently very limited. If some of your characters take off on you and get really complex, or your plot gets complex, that can be very frustrating.

 

Everybody's Wounded is the only story I've ever written in first person and frankly I regret it. I really wish I'd done it in third person from the start and I expect if I ever do anything with it, I will rewrite it. The second book is in third person (and it's a second book rather than the second half of the story) precisely because I want it to be in third person.

That's understandable. I actually thought it was just fine in the 1st, but 3rd person does allow a lot more freedom. I have come to the same conclusion with the Dark Earth trilogy. The Prophecy is in 1st, but the 2nd and 3rd books will be in 3rd, because I need the omniscient perspective. I was very uncomfortable with 3rd person at first, but now I am a little more confident. I have been writing for less than a year, and I am still learning and growing as an author.

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That's understandable. I actually thought it was just fine in the 1st, but 3rd person does allow a lot more freedom. I have come to the same conclusion with the Dark Earth trilogy. The Prophecy is in 1st, but the 2nd and 3rd books will be in 3rd, because I need the omniscient perspective. I was very uncomfortable with 3rd person at first, but now I am a little more confident. I have been writing for less than a year, and I am still learning and growing as an author.

 

 

I've heard several writing profs say that first person is very much a beginners domain. There are of course brilliant first person works...as noted above, Salinger, etc. And I've noted a trend to first person as the whole pseudo diary thing becomes popular.

 

I think the thing is that first person has a real intimacy...it's like a diary with an audience. But third person means you as the writer can have a separate relationship with the reader that adds a further dimension to the story. It depends of course on your objectives as a story teller. I mean, if you're working out issues, or you have a fairly straightforward story, then first person works well. But if you're trying to balance several story arcs, or secretive characters, you have no way of letting the reader into something you feel they should know. I got so frustrated in EW that I stepped outside of first person for one scene....

 

What I found horribly frustrating with first person is that I couldn't give the reader insight into why a character was doing what he was doing because the narrator had no idea... and it was precisely because he didn't know that I wanted the reader to know... that relationship between writer and reader that is separate from the relationship between character and reader. I just felt that that insight would have just added so much...

 

I think it's because, as writers, we often know so much more about our characters than we actually write in the story...but we need to know those things to make the character breathe.....

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I've heard several writing profs say that first person is very much a beginners domain. There are of course brilliant first person works...as noted above, Salinger, etc. And I've noted a trend to first person as the whole pseudo diary thing becomes popular.

That's so true. I am still a beginner. I am still working on finishing my first novel which happens to be in 1st person, so I still have much to learn. I do, however, think I have being doing quite well for a beginner. Sometimes everything just flows out and I can accomplish quite a bit in a writing session. Having said that, I also know that 3rd person is still a weak area for me, especially 3rd limited. I cannot seem to do that very well. As CJ said in another thread, 3rd person is great for complex plots. That is why I started a story in first and then re-wrote it into 3rd. I wanted that level of complexity. It gives me more control over how characters interact with one another. It also allows the soap-opera view of the story's universe. At the same time, it's still easy to hide certain events from the audience until you're ready to reveal an awesome twist. You can reveal the hows and whys in a much different way. For example, there's a secret plot to kill one of the protagonists. The first attempt fails. The audience wants to know who is trying to kill the main character and why. Instead of waiting until it's revealed in dialogue between the main character and the antagonist, you can simply go to the antagonist's lair and pick his/her brain for a while.

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I won't let you... :P

 

What are you? My mother? No...wait...never mind. Never argue with an editor. They'll decimate your next chapter when they get it. Editors are scary, scary people.

 

I've been known to use journal entries myself. However, I only seem to do so in stories that are already 1st-person. The level of freedom makes it interesting to me. It gives me a chance to explore the feelings of more than one character while I still maintain the benefits of having the story told from the main character's POV. :)

 

See, I can't do that. If I need to, I'll mix it up and add first person or third person as I need it, but most of the time, I stick with first person. If I'm going to have journal entries, I'll most often write in third, like I said. I find it looks better and feels smoother all around if I do it that way. But that's with my writing.

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I've heard several writing profs say that first person is very much a beginners domain. There are of course brilliant first person works...as noted above, Salinger, etc. And I've noted a trend to first person as the whole pseudo diary thing becomes popular.

 

I think the thing is that first person has a real intimacy...it's like a diary with an audience. But third person means you as the writer can have a separate relationship with the reader that adds a further dimension to the story. It depends of course on your objectives as a story teller. I mean, if you're working out issues, or you have a fairly straightforward story, then first person works well. But if you're trying to balance several story arcs, or secretive characters, you have no way of letting the reader into something you feel they should know. I got so frustrated in EW that I stepped outside of first person for one scene....

 

What I found horribly frustrating with first person is that I couldn't give the reader insight into why a character was doing what he was doing because the narrator had no idea... and it was precisely because he didn't know that I wanted the reader to know... that relationship between writer and reader that is separate from the relationship between character and reader. I just felt that that insight would have just added so much...

 

I think it's because, as writers, we often know so much more about our characters than we actually write in the story...but we need to know those things to make the character breathe.....

 

In a way, I think my third person isn't too different from first person, because I keep my third person limited quite strictly limited to one character. What first person allows me to do is slip into the tone of the character, which is a very interesting exercise. I don't have to worry so much about having my "own" interesting and exciting voice; I can just look into the character to determine the inflections to use, etc.

 

I've yet to write something that really exploits third person omniscient. That's what I plan to do after I've finished what I'm working on now. It's an entire tradition that I haven't tapped into. I mean, all oral epics are third person omniscient; epics in general are, I think, unless they're bildingsromans (however that word is spelled...).

 

I am, btw, still waiting for your critique of M&W, Duncan! :P

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Most of my stories are first person. I like the way I can get into the head of the protagonist, I think it gives a more personal POV than third person. However, I've written third person. My Fairy Tale anthology story The Tale of Snow White ([blatant promotion follows] see my signature for the link) is third person omniscient.

 

As others have already said, choose the best POV for your story.

 

Colin B)

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In a way, I think my third person isn't too different from first person, because I keep my third person limited quite strictly limited to one character. What first person allows me to do is slip into the tone of the character, which is a very interesting exercise. I don't have to worry so much about having my "own" interesting and exciting voice; I can just look into the character to determine the inflections to use, etc.

 

I've yet to write something that really exploits third person omniscient. That's what I plan to do after I've finished what I'm working on now. It's an entire tradition that I haven't tapped into. I mean, all oral epics are third person omniscient; epics in general are, I think, unless they're bildingsromans (however that word is spelled...).

 

I am, btw, still waiting for your critique of M&W, Duncan! :P

It's coming, C. Promise. I'm working on it. I'm flying to montreal this afternoon, and I've got it on my laptop to do on the plane.

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I'm loving this discussion! I've wrestled with this issue myself, many times. When I started writing, I used first person. In my opinion, it is often easier for a new writer in spite (or perhaps because of) its vast limitations.

 

However, with third person, you can get just as "into" a character as with first. The advantage is, you can do so with more than one. You also aren't limited to whatever location a protagonist happens to be at. If something is happening across town or on another continent, you can show it easily without having to get the protagonist there to see it.

 

I wrote my first serial story in first person, and often I had to get my protagonist into all sorts of places so he (and thus the reader) could find things out (it was, in part, a mystery with a complex plot). That was fun, but also quite limiting. changing POV was not an option to me, as I have a very strong personal dislike of alternating first-person POV's. In part, it's becuase that is severely frowned upon in professional writing, and also in part because I, as a reader, find it jarring. (just my opinion; I mean no offense to anyone who does this.)

 

Journal entries can be used, though my personal preference (as a reader) is to use them sparingly. It can be useful, for example, in a 1st person story to have your protagonist find a journal to glean some new information they otherwise would be unaware of. Another technique is to use temporal interjection; in a first person story, if the reader needs to know something but the protagonist can't know it, one option is to have the protagonist, as narrator, interject along the lines of, "I had no idea at the time, but so-and-so did such-and-such... etc." and then the protagonist goes on, blissfully unaware, though the reader now knows whatever it is they needed to know.

 

I've written stories in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, and my preference is to match the voice to the story. For short stories I still often use 1st, becuase it does offer a speedy way to develop the character and get the reader into the story. For novels, I can't ever imagine using 1st again. For example, my current serial would be impossible in anything other than third, so there wasn't a choice to make.

 

In one short story, written in third, I found myself needing parts in 1st and 2nd person, just brief parts, and did so without changing perspective: I had the protagonist sit down and write out those passages in his notebook. In fact, the story is, in part, a tounge-in-cheek jab at the "rules" of writing. (It's The Muse if anyone is curious).

 

Another "Best of both worlds" technique between 1st and 3rd person is to use a 1st person prologue to intro one of your protagonists, then shift to 3d for the chapters.

 

 

Editors are scary, scary people.

 

Truer words have never been spoken. :worship:

 

CJ (who is hoping that his editor, Emoe, is not reading this thread! 0:) )

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I looked through past threads and was surprised I didn't find anything on this. I probably didn't look carefully enough. :unsure:

 

In any case, I am three chapters deep in a story that I'm writing from a first person POV. I've only written in first person once before, and let's just say that that did not turn out well. So I've mostly used third person. The purpose of this thread, therefore, is to marvel at the differences between writing in third person and first person. :P

 

All my stories, 3 multi-chapter and 4 shorts, are in first person. First-person and third person each have advantages and disadvantages, and my opinion is that the author should use the one best suited for the story.

 

As it happens, in my stories I like the reader to get inside the protagonist's head, share his experiences, and develop a personal bond with him. So I chose 1st person. I think one poster mentioned you can do that with 3rd person and with more than one character, but I feel if you do that it dilutes the intimacy.

 

From a practical consideration I fould that the major drawback with 1st POV is that sometimes you need to communicate to the reader the background of a major character. In my first-ever story, which was being posted almost as it was written, I was forced into the very inelegant position of having to switch for two chapters to a second person's POV. A more elegant solution (which I have since used) is to build the necessary information into a series of interesting conversations. However, even that more elegant solution needs very careful handling to work well.

 

I could have chosen the more elegant solution in my first story if earlier chapters had not already been posted. The inflexibility of not being able to go back and modify earlier chapters is one reason why I now never staet posting a story until it's all complete.

 

From my point of view, the main advantage of the third person is that it is easier to feed the reader the information as needed. However, that can be a double-edged sword. For example, if there are any 'mysteries' that you expect the reader work out. If you give too much information the interest and mystery are destroyed. If you don't give enough information the reader will feel cheated if he thinksd that you witheld something that was a vital clue.

 

Another poster mentioned that a writing prof said first person POV was for beginners. That, of course, is total nonsense as can be seen by the great novels written in first person by expert authors. That prof should be sacked, if only because he foisted off a generalisation as a truth. Mind you, one always has to ask oneself a question about writing profs - how many successful novels has he written? If the answer is none then take his words with a few bucket loads of salt. Also, even a great writer may not be able to communicate how he does it, so he just makes up platitudes because he gets paid for it.

 

Finally, bear in mind that most of the best writers never went to any classes on writing. All you can pick up from them is techniques, and no amount of expertise will make someone without talent into a great artist. Great artists, writers, musicians, painters need to have good technique, but most of all they need to have the talent to speak from the heart and commicate to their audience. Skilled writers are necessary in order to give us news articles, technical manuals, entertain us etc. However, we need the great writers, the artists, to feed our minds and souls.

 

So my advice to anyone who wants to write good fiction is to read the works of great authors and to keep practicing writing your own stories until you find your voice, the voice that communicate to your readers. Then you will be able to choose the right POV, first or third, for the story you want to write. Long intellectual discussions about which is best will then be revealed as irrelevant.

 

Kit

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[quote name='Kit' date='April 10 2008, 12:26 PM' post='127743'

 

Another poster mentioned that a writing prof said first person POV was for beginners. That, of course, is total nonsense as can be seen by the great novels written in first person by expert authors. That prof should be sacked, if only because he foisted off a generalisation as a truth. Mind you, one always has to ask oneself a question about writing profs - how many successful novels has he written? If the answer is none then take his words with a few bucket loads of salt. Also, even a great writer may not be able to communicate how he does it, so he just makes up platitudes because he gets paid for it.

 

 

 

Actually that's not quite what I said or what they said... what I said was that they said it was the domain of beginners...and I pointed out that there were great 1st person novels. By domain I simply meant that you find a lot of writers in their early period of development working in first person, and they cut a lot of teeth and learn a lot of craft in first person. I think it's because of the intimacy; it really lets you play with developing a strong narrative voice.

 

I've worked with some quite successful writers as it happens, in writers workshops etc. Several have won literary awards. Literary writers, even if they are critically successful, often don't make a lot of money, and they teach and mentor. And many have written about writing as well, at least in their letters etc. Some of them actually care about mentoring young writers. I knew one who launched several young writers' careers by taking manuscripts to his own publisher....

 

I believe that learning the craft of writing is very important. It's the basic skill set.

 

I think writers can learn a lot from one another.... of course many are solitary creatures...but many can be very generous. That has been my experience, anyway.

 

Having said that....

 

I agree that ultimately one becomes a writer by writing. Our responsibility as writers is simply to...show up at the page and write. But the more hard skills you bring to the table, the better.

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Actually that's not quite what I said or what they said... what I said was that they said it was the domain of beginners...and I pointed out that there were great 1st person novels. By domain I simply meant that you find a lot of writers in their early period of development working in first person, and they cut a lot of teeth and learn a lot of craft in first person. I think it's because of the intimacy; it really lets you play with developing a strong narrative voice.

 

I've worked with some quite successful writers as it happens, in writers workshops etc. Several have won literary awards. Literary writers, even if they are critically successful, often don't make a lot of money, and they teach and mentor. And many have written about writing as well, at least in their letters etc. Some of them actually care about mentoring young writers. I knew one who launched several young writers' careers by taking manuscripts to his own publisher....

 

I believe that learning the craft of writing is very important. It's the basic skill set.

 

I think writers can learn a lot from one another.... of course many are solitary creatures...but many can be very generous. That has been my experience, anyway.

 

Having said that....

 

I agree that ultimately one becomes a writer by writing. Our responsibility as writers is simply to...show up at the page and write. But the more hard skills you bring to the table, the better.

 

So very well said. I had to pipe in because I'm finally getting a chance this evening to read EW (I'm glad I waited for the finished product. After seeing where the chapter breaks are, I don't think I would have survived a work-in-progress with any sort of grace -- review coming.) I simply love it -- but that's for another thread. However, it speaks to this topic.

 

As in any skill, when learning, it makes sense to test the waters. I've tried my hand at many POVs, tenses, styles, genres, etc, and I'm always on the lookout for the new challenge. How can you find your voice, your strength, without exploring the possibilities? First person is a powerful, powerful tool -- one I'm not extremely proficient with -- but some people can make it work. It works for EW. I admire Duncan his skill.

 

I've also heard that fist person is the favorite tool of beginning writers -- and also of great writers. :D

 

Mastering the craft is a unique journey for every writer.

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So very well said. I had to pipe in because I'm finally getting a chance this evening to read EW (I'm glad I waited for the finished product. After seeing where the chapter breaks are, I don't think I would have survived a work-in-progress with any sort of grace -- review coming.) I simply love it -- but that's for another thread. However, it speaks to this topic.

 

As in any skill, when learning, it makes sense to test the waters. I've tried my hand at many POVs, tenses, styles, genres, etc, and I'm always on the lookout for the new challenge. How can you find your voice, your strength, without exploring the possibilities? First person is a powerful, powerful tool -- one I'm not extremely proficient with -- but some people can make it work. It works for EW. I admire Duncan his skill.

 

I've also heard that fist person is the favorite tool of beginning writers -- and also of great writers. :D

 

Mastering the craft is a unique journey for every writer.

I recently read it too. It's a good example of how well a 1st person story can be. There are others on GA in 1st person that I think are wonderful. The important things are the story being told and how well it's told. A good author knows what POV a story needs to be in even it that means a re-write. I had to rewrite one already. I had only started the 1st chapter. I ended up scrapping it and switching to first. I do have a thing or two to learn about 3rd, but I am gradually increasing my comfort level with it. In time, I'll probably write mostly in 3rd, although I would never take 1st person out of my playbook. 2nd is the one I refuse to do. I don't see how a story like that could ever work for me. There is a 2nd person story that I am going to read at some point just to see what it's like, but I would probably never write in it. 4th is also out of my comfort zone. :P

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I am far more comfortable writing in 1st person perspective than I am in 3rd. One can argue that it is within the beginner's domain, but I think I could be just as comfortable writing in other prospectives if I started out in them and it would be reversed. It is though easier to write through the prospect of one person I think, than to write a story with the actions, thoughts, reactions of many characters that an Omniscient narrative provides.

 

People seem to like my 1st person perspective stories a whole lot more than my 3rd person, but I've not challenged myself with writing a serial in third yet. I do have one planned, but as far as my writing goes I once wanted to transition myself into completely working with Third person, as I see that as the more accepted style. I won't do that now though as I would see myself not enjoying my writing if I did. Becoming comfortable in both styles would be a good goal to have for myself though and if I write enough in both it would be great.

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Actually that's not quite what I said or what they said... what I said was that they said it was the domain of beginners...and I pointed out that there were great 1st person novels. By domain I simply meant that you find a lot of writers in their early period of development working in first person, and they cut a lot of teeth and learn a lot of craft in first person. I think it's because of the intimacy; it really lets you play with developing a strong narrative voice.

 

I agree with a connection b/w first person and beginners, because I think it's easier to land into first person. That doesn't mean I think first person is cheaper or ultimately easier to write than third person. Actually, it would be interesting to put a poll with this question -- did you start third or first person? How have you evolved?

 

I think writers can learn a lot from one another.... of course many are solitary creatures...but many can be very generous. That has been my experience, anyway.

 

It's good to be generous -- that's why we have a forum, where people can make posts, write replies, etc. :P

 

 

As in any skill, when learning, it makes sense to test the waters. I've tried my hand at many POVs, tenses, styles, genres, etc, and I'm always on the lookout for the new challenge. How can you find your voice, your strength, without exploring the possibilities? First person is a powerful, powerful tool -- one I'm not extremely proficient with -- but some people can make it work. It works for EW. I admire Duncan his skill.

 

I'm totally with you there. At the same time, I think it's important to remember not to force style that doesn't come from the story you're telling. In other words, it's difficult and even counterproductive (for me) to write a story as an "exercise" in a certain style if I don't connect to the story on a deeper level. I say this partly because last year I wrote a ton of short stories in which I frenetically explored different styles, modes of telling, etc. I tried to be as "literary" as possible. None of it was very satisfying. My priorities had been all wrong.

 

Fortunately they've self-adjusted and are totally correct now. :D

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