First vs Third Person

Normally, I’m a third person writer. I enjoy being able to explore the feelings and experiences of multiple characters in my stories.

However, for the first novel in my Twyned Earth series I decided to do it in first person and I loved the experience. I found it gave for a fun and lively narration and every piece of description added to the character. It allowed me to spend a lot of time exploring his feelings and motives and to effectively show which moments brought on specific character developments, allowing the reader to experience his growth as he did. It also allowed for a very casual narration that I feel went very well with the overall tone of the story. All these positive points that I enjoyed while writing cemented the idea that I wanted the next two books (completing the first Twyne storyline) to be in first person as well, each following one of the other main characters of the first book.

But there’s a problem.

Having now finished the first draft of the novel I can’t help but notice how dull and linear the actual plot of this story is. Being in first person means that the reader only sees what the main character sees, making it much harder to include the usual array of sub-plots and complications I love to include in stories. This is my main concern with the first of this series – I love the characters and I love the setting. But is this first person style (or, probably more accurately, my lack of experience in this first person style) stifling the actual plot of the story? Trying to add depth to this story is probably going to take up most of my time during editing and the end result will lead to my decision as to whether or not the next two books should be in first or third person.

With any luck I’ll be able to make this novel a better read and improve my skill as a first person writer at the same time.

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2 responses to “First vs Third Person

  1. I spent a lot of my early-writing life writing in first person, and then more recently have switched to third. I’ve found a good compromise between the two is the close third person – so basically seeing things from a single character’s point of view, but still writing in third person. It means I can also do POV switches between scenes without confusing readers, while still getting an insight into thoughts and motivations. But I suppose it really depends on the story, for which style you use…

    • That’s a good idea! I’ve been thinking about it and I think I will try that for the next instalment, hopefully I will end up with a stronger story while maintaining the interesting narrative. Thanks for the input!

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