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3rd person vs. 1st person—which do you like more and why?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. I don’t know if you have this feeling, too. But I get eye sore if I read the 3rd person with simple past. Dude! That style is so overused and sucks. If it would be a book genre, then it was vampire stories. (Ok. Except, Vampire Academy. That saga is awesome.) I prefer the 1st person POV. Ok?! There doesn’t matter, which tense you use. However, that’s just my opinion. So, what do you prefer. Let’s discuss!
    DragonOfTheAerie likes this.
  2. Depends very much on the story. I prefer both 3rd omniscient and 1st person to a basic 3rd limited any day in my own writing. But which one depends a lot on the individual story.

    I like first person when I really want to connect to the character. My current WIP is in first. It's just fun to play with your character's own voice.

    Third person omniscient is what i'll use for some of my upcoming works because I want a misty, distant and folkloric kind of tone and that's easier with third person.

    I'll read anything but 3rd limited tends to be boring.
  3. I propose something new: 3rd confused. Your narrator has no idea what is going on and is just plopped into the story, as disoriented as you are.
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    First. I write in first, I read whatever, but I write in first. I've started to wonder if I have multiple personality disorder. I hear voices.
  5. That sounds like a great idea.
  6. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    I tend to jump between 3rd limited and omniscient, depending on how much needs describing or if it's from the characters view. I can jump into 1st p.o.v. but I find it kind of limiting with descriptions. Especially if I have to try to put it in the head of a character who likely has no idea what certain things are and the like. Plus, I like playing narrator.

    Once Upon A Time...and depending on the voice it can go different directions. From Arrested Development and Bard's Tale snark to the Classic narration styles.
    Rkcapps and TheCrystallineEntity like this.
  7. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    I love Arrested Development. Great narration.
  8. You know, I kinda meant that as a joke but now I am thinking i would totally read such a book.
    Malik likes this.
  9. kennyc

    kennyc Inkling

    Either can work, but I think first person (if it is appropriate for the story) is more engaging and intimate.
  10. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

    My favorite to read is definitely first, but I don't always use it in my own writing, mostly because it's difficult to use more than two POV characters without it getting confusing. I just love how close it is to the character. You get an amount of voice from first person that's difficult to achieve otherwise. To me, it often feels like a waste of potential when I read an entire story written in Limited Third from a single character's perspective.

    That said, I still think I disagree with the OP. I think the idea that Third Past is terrible because it's overused and boring is kind of missing the point. One of the benefits of it is that readers are so used to it. It's supposed to be invisible, so the idea of it being an eyesore is kind of weird to me.
    There are a lot of benefits to being one step removed from a character's head. First person can be kind of limiting that way. Limited third gives you a lot of those benefits with out having to go all the the way to Omniscent. (Omniscent is my personal least favorite. It's difficult to write and can feel distant on the page, even when done well.)

    The tense thing is a whole new bottle of worms.
    I'm not sure what you mean when you say tense doesn't matter in first. It makes a big difference to the writer especially because it's so much in the character's head. Whether the character's telling you what's happening as it happens or after the fact makes a huge difference in their perspective. It also makes things extra trippy in past tense because you have to worry about exactly how much time has passed.
    I also want to mention that I much prefer present tense in first person. The immediacy present gives just seems to come across better that way, for me, at least. It feels weird in third.

    That said, this is just my opinion. I don't think that the POV you choose is really all that important to the final story, as long as you do it well
  11. A word of warning about tense: Its very hard to switch between writing in one tense to the other. Try to move from a project in past to one in present and back to one in past and you will spend at least a year switching tenses at random in everything you write. Trust me, I've been through it. It's trippy to read an old draft and have it suddenly lapse into present tense for two sentences, back into past, back into present, back into past, and then have the final three paragraphs of the chapter in present. Also that's tedious to edit out.
  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    POV doesn’t matter if done well, but seeing as I like multi-POV books... 1st just doesn’t work. 3rd om, limited, intimate fits my tastes of story better.

    I don’t think 1st is any stronger for character connection than 3rd intimate. And of course there are different types of 1st person... I like the more classic Name of the Rose narrative 1st... reading I, I, I, I over and over irritates the shit out of me for some reason.
    FifthView and Rkcapps like this.
  13. TheNecroFaerie

    TheNecroFaerie New Member

    That’s why you have to vary your sentence structure.
  14. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    It’s more narrative style than simply varying sentence structure. I prefer a 1st person narrator more than a 1st person actor, so to speak. Watson narrating Holmes, Adso of Melk narrating Wiiliam of Baskerville... the supporting character POV rather than the Lead. Once you reach 1st present, then it just feels flat out hokey to me.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  15. rktho

    rktho Troubadour

    I prefer third person. I wouldn't be opposed to trying my hand at writing 1st person someday (I've done it occasionally but not for a major project) but I need to find the right story first. My stories tend to rely on multiple POV and I don't like 1st person for multiple POV.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  16. Yora

    Yora Maester

    Third person, because I feel that it's the only proper way. First person feels wrong.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  17. I like playing around with all the writing styles, but I mostly write 3rd limited. Something I love experimenting in is tense, but I've only ever written short stories in present tense, mostly I stick to past tense because I'm more comfortable there.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  18. Tom

    Tom Istar

    I work in 1st person or limited 3rd person, with a definite preference for 1st person. Because of how character-driven most of my writing is, I connect very deeply to the viewpoint character when I'm working. The most POV characters I've worked with in one project is three, I think. Everything I write is framed in the past tense. I can't stand present tense--it comes across as stilted and gimmicky, even in the hands of someone familiar with its use.
    Rkcapps likes this.
  19. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    A lot of my favourite novels and short stories are written in present tense. I don't find it annoying at all. I wonder, do those who criticize it actually dislike it? Or have you been told, by some "how to write" article, to dislike it and avoid it?
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  20. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

    I prefer the third person in both writing and in what I read. To me first person seems to strike me as either pretentious or intended for young adults.
    Rkcapps likes this.

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