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First Person vs. Third Person: What is your preferred writing style?


Brayon

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16 minutes ago, BHopper2 said:

Most stories I've read here on GA, and in books in general, are written in the Third Person format. A detached narrator who guides the reader through the story. I'm currently trying my hand at writing one in the First Person and must say it's daunting. Finding out that I use the word "I" a lot in starting sentences while trying to keep the story in a past tense. Though, I am reworking that, to make it less often.

 

So, what is your favorite writing style?

Why do you choose that one?

Have you tried the other?

What shortcomings have you experienced, and how have you tried to overcome them?

I have to say my preferred writing style is admittedly in the Third Person.

 

And I think I prefer it because I like to write about what's going on in each of my characters' heads and don't think that I have as much liberty to do that in the First Person, if that makes sense? My main character would have to be a mind reader to truly grasp what everyone is feeling, so I generally stick to the Third Person.

 

I have tried, and continue to try, writing in First Person and it is DIFFICULT.

 

It's hard for me to create a main character who is an engaging narrator that can walk you through the story. Not only that, but also being cognizant of the development of my other characters at the same time. Writing in First Person is interesting because you can be in another person's shoes, you get to know and flesh out the character inside and out, and the story is entirely based on their perspective. What helps me is if I have two or more First Person narrators. It's kind of like using training wheels: Not only do I get to delve into the inner workings of my two narrators, but I can also have the two narrators describe each other and their actions (instead of relying entirely on one person's bias view. The Sound of Fury by William Faulkner comes to mind). Does that make sense? And I feel like if I do that enough, I eventually won't need multiple First Person narrators to create the story that I want.

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Another interesting topic here @BHopper2 You have a knack for these. This is interesting because for me it's always the 'First Person'. I'm not sure why it appeals to me so much because it does have its limitations but I find it more realistic.

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Everything posted here is in the third person, but it doesn't mean detachment necessarily. My characters thoughts and observations are often on view - so you're seeing the action through their eyes. I'm experimenting with writing a piece in the first person. Again, I find if you inhabit the character, you don't end up using I that often. Hopefully, this piece will post in the not too distant future. 

 

As Dodger says, interesting question. :)

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16 minutes ago, jamessavik said:

first person is a lot easier in many ways.

 

3rd person is more complex and requires more thought

 

 

Are most, if not all, of your stories in the First Person jamessavik?

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Since most of my stories are 'Letters/Diaries' they are almost always in First Person. It's weird but fun to take off one character like clothes and put another one on. The trick is to give each character their own voice. It helps if you are fairly schizo which I are.

 

:P

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3 hours ago, BDANR said:

Are most, if not all, of your stories in the First Person jamessavik?

 

No. I use a mix of 1st and 3rd person in my various stories. 

 

It's just a little more cumbersome writing in 3rd. It takes true wizardry to make 3rd person dialog work really well.

 

My latest story is actually a narrative. It's an experiment in using a little different style telling a story

Edited by jamessavik
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I’ve written in both, and strongly prefer third person, because it offers more versatility.  I often like to switch perspectives between characters when writing longer pieces and that is impossible with first person.  I’ve been told that a lot of people prefer first person, because it is similar to the way we think, and it’s fun to write in first person, but I find it too limiting.

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I didn't come across any first person writing until recently, so it always takes me a couple of pages to get used to that POV. I default to third person, but I have done a couple of short stories in first person that were fun to write. I may explore using first person for longer pieces some day. 

 

I've heard that the use of first person grew in popularity with the rise of young adult books. I don't know if this is true or not, but most of the YA books I've come across are written in first person. I think the argument was that many young adult and new adult books are about characters who are still finding their footing in life and as adults, so using first person helps make that experience more visceral for the reader. 

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I am far more comfortable writing is first person. Third has always been a challenge for me and I still struggle with writing stories in third. Repetition is the only real way to become comfortable with them, I think. The more you do it, the more natural it will become. I wish I had more time to do more writing so that I could better understand both.

 

First person is the one I started out my writing with. I started back in high school before we even really studies creative writing, POV, etc.. so I was totally green and made a ton of errors. Some of my posted High School works are pretty much a testament to that. I find first person allowed me to better construct a character, as in First the story is only driven by the actions/reactions/thoughts/motives of the character it is about. Where as third, there can be multiple sets of factors and characters driving the story forward. The shortcomings with First is, sometimes they become too character driven and you lose the.. overall feel of the story and the over all completeness of it. Sometimes first person stories just never feel, "complete," but with Third - I feel, a stronger sense of resolution/climax/completion.

 

The other obvious shortcoming is First only allows for one person's story to be told and you are limited to that voice. Third obviously allows for a wider array of storytelling to drive the writing and story forward.

 

As far as reading in concerned, I'm more willing to read a story in third than in first. I find myself less picky and more open to the story/writing style, etc if it is done in third as well. A lot more forgiving on characterizations too. 

 

My current story is in First, but I think I am in need of a Third in my future as writing in the same style can become tedious and such. It is good to branch yourself out and become comfortable with both. 

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For most part of my story I used third person as a writing style. Actually my first two stories have been third person style. But my recent story First Love has given the chance to me to explore first person writing style. Which, in fact, has been easy to write and to explain and to understand.

 

According to me, both first and third person writing style have their unique individual differences. To me it was situation demand. My first two stories allowed me two explore both style according to the situation. And the recent story only required to be written in first person. So for me it was story or situation demands the style of my writings. 

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My writings are of both, first and third person. A reader doesn't want to hear from me all the time...they want to hear from the colorful characters in the story. I only create the characters. The people in the story are the real artists who paint the picture, with their own individuality. Isn't lit great?

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I think you have to explore writing in the third person, which does not have to be the reader listening to a disembodied narrator telling him or her their thoughts on everything and nothing. It is a vehicle for allowing more than one character to live, to change scenes, to write episodes where different characters are present and not always the main protagonists, to develop sub-plots. It allows the author to show the thoughts of more than just one character, because in the first person you cannot write what two different people may be thinking.

 

Sometimes authors who are stuck writing first person resort to changing points of view, that for me is very confusing and difficult to follow. You read chapter one from character A's POV, then in chapter two you have become character B talking to character A, and maybe in chapter three you are character C. It's like a plate of spaghetti! 

 

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I've always written fiction in first person (although how successfully might be for others to decide) because I find third person much more difficult to make readable.  Avoiding all of those "he said" and "she said" just seems like a dark art.  Maybe I should try harder.

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I need a lot more practice with the first person narration. I tried to do a longish short story, and it turned out like crap. It shall be rewritten in the future.

 

EDIT: Lots of I did this, I did that. I went over here. I stayed away. I shot the sheriff.

Edited by BHopper2
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