First Person vs. Third Person

I thought I would talk a little about viewpoint in today’s post. I know it’s a topic that’s frequently discussed across the internet, but I wanted to share my own experiences with viewpoints with you all. Who knows, one of you might find it helpful!

First, a list of pros and cons:

First Person

Pros

  • Easy to get inside the character’s head from the start.
  • Easy to develop a distinctive voice, as the character ‘talks’ to the reader.
  • More immediate and personal.

Cons

  • Very limited in its scope (difficult to follow more than one character).
  • The writer’s voice can become lost amongst the character’s thoughts.
  • Can often feel ‘reflective’ and difficult to speculate on future events.
  • No danger – the character survives or they would not be telling the story.

Third Person

Pros

  • Perfect vehicle for putting across the author/writer’s voice.
  • Preferred style for many works of fiction. Readers sometimes put off by 1st person.
  • Great for covering a wide-ranging, epic story as multiple characters can be used as viewpoints.
  • Can become as personal as 1st person if the writing is good (close 3rd person).

Cons

  • Can be more difficult to use for inexperienced writers.
  • Requires hard work and solid writing to get readers connecting to characters.
  • Can become too ‘loose’ and detached if the writer isn’t careful.

My Thoughts

I personally prefer the use of third person when writing. I tend to write in a close-ish third person as I enjoy being inside the character’s head as much as possible. Sometimes, I’ll take a wider view of the world for the story’s purposes, but never for very long. I have written a couple of stories in first person and I remember particularly enjoying writing one of them. Overall, though, I found it restrictive for the sort of writing that I like to do. Maybe my style is just not suited to first person. Maybe I just need to learn a few more tricks.

Your Thoughts

It’s open to the floor now. What do you think?

~ James

Advertisements