Monday, March 7, 2011


That whole archery thing has cooled down enough for me to want to write again. I've jumped back to writing The Chronicles now, glad too, I missed it! The Journalist wasn't going the way I wanted it to, I couldn't figure out a proper way to start it without making writing it boring, so I'm taking a brake from that.

I'm doing a bit of experimenting with The Chronicles on POV. I mean, the main character is still the same but I'm messing around with first person POV, where before I was doing third person limited. I'm wondering if first person will be better or not for the story since I've got a major character arc to follow. I'll have to see which one works better, it's too early to tell anything.

I know that third person is supposed to give more freedom for the author, and I like the way third person reads with a narrator telling the story, but I also like first person because it's more intimate with the character, hearing the story straight from the character instead of having the story told to you by a third party. But there's also those annoying things like every paragraph seeming to start with 'I' and the character sometimes seeming to act whiny and stuff.

I have read first person done well though. The Name of the Wind, for example, was in first person and was, in my opinion, done incredibly well (plus it was awesome).

But I think, when you look at all the books, most of the good books are written in third person. Is that because it's more accessible for people to read? Is it because first person is harder to write well in? Do readers, in general, like having the story told to them opposed to living through the character themselves?

And when I think about it, it seems to me like first person should be the easier POV to write in, because it's the POV everyone lives in. When we talk about ourselves we say things like: "I went to the store today and got. . ." or "My sister told me I should go try this great restaurant. . ." Not: "Mrs. Black went to the store that day and decided to get. . ." or "Her sister had told her to try a great restaurant. . ." So shouldn't it be easier to write in first person?

I'll have to try and figure out exactly why third person is more popular than first person.

What do you guys think? What's the pros and cons for first person and third person, and why does third person seem more popular than first person?

I'm sending good writing vibes your way!


Claudie A. said...

I think the popularity depends a lot on the genre. It's true that I see most fantasy written in third person these days, but unless I'm mistaken, YA gets a lot of first-person narration.

First person has the advantage of cutting the distance between your reader and the character even more thoroughly than a deep third person. It does mean, however, that you'll want your character's voice to be even stronger.

I have to admit I don't find first person as natural. I'm used to third person, and since I am using more than one POV, it makes the switch less jarring.

Michael Offutt said...

I think first person point of view is terrible. I've not read a book written this way that I thought was ever worth reading again and most of them that I intend on reading I give up on.