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Thread: First Person

  1. #1
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    First Person

    Does anyone want to offer an opinion on first person narratives? I've done my research and read a ton about it, but I've never written something in this style. So if anyone wants to tell me your experience or tips, that'd be great.



  2. #2
    Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
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    All perspectives have their strengths and weaknesses. First person narratives are good for putting the reader in the shoes of your characters. It allows you provide more in-depth thoughts of the characters and have the reader find things out at the same time as the characters. It can limit the number of main characters you have as changing to too many different first person perspectives can be confusing. In a way I feel that there needs to be more emphasis on how the characters feel in given situations because it is their voice that drives the story.

    My current novel series is in third person because I have four main characters; however the one I have on the back burner will be in first person since I want more insight into the main character's thoughts and emotions. A good fast way to see the difference is to read comic books about one character (Batman, Superman, Daredevil) vs. ones that involve a team (Justice League, X-Men, Avengers). Look at the difference in usage of dialogue, inner thoughts and third person narrative. Hope this helps and good luck with your writing.
    K.S. Crooks - Dreamer and Author
    http://www.kscrooks.com

  3. #3
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    First person to me can often come off as cheesy if not done well. Never was as comfortable to me.

  4. #4
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    I've used both and don't really care.

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    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    If you're a beginner, first person is usually not a good idea. Many beginners like the idea of first person, because they can "be" the main character. The only problem is they enjoy "being" the MC so much, they forget they need to tell a story. The writing ends up as a bunch of narcissistic yammering about what the MC likes and dislikes, how he plans to increase his likes and decrease his dislikes in his life, how he feels about that, and what he thinks about what other people think about him. Gets old real fast.

    If you're a beginner, learn how to tell a good story in third person first, then try first person.

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    Agreed John. It can get a little "Mary Sue" and the main character becomes an idealistic idea of the author himself. It's hard to be objective when you write first person but it can be done, and done well.

    I like first person. It's limiting but can be a great challenge to tell all the relevant story with a limited POV. I don't like multiple first person. I prefer to intersperse third person for any other character who needs to have a voice, because as you say, too many first person narratives can be confusing. I actually like the contrast and juxtaposition of a third in there too.

    Great thread. I will be interested to read anyone else's comments.

    DW

  7. #7
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    Thanks for replying, everyone- I really appreciate your time and imput. From the comments, it seems that as long as I understand the pitfalls and avoid them, it should be fine. Fortunatly, I only have one main character, so there won't be any head-hopping, and though I guess I'd technically still be a beginner since I've yet to finish my first manuscript, I've written about 300k words in various scenes and drafts of my WIP. I don't know. I played around with first person and wrote a few scenes from that perspective, and found I liked it just as much or better than the third person had been. The main reason I wanted to switch was that I felt the writing was too distant, and so I thought that changing the narrative might help it seem a little closer to the reader. So thanks for your imput, guys, it was super helpful! Post again if you think of anything else.

  8. #8
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    Oh, and there shouldn't be any danger of a Mary Sue situation, since my main character isn't really anything like me, and I have everything nailed down pretty well plot-wise. Believe me, I despise Mary Sue/Marty Stue stories just as much as the next reader, so there's hopefullyl no way that'll creep into my writing. I made sure to make my MC different enough that she wouldn't even think like me most of the time, so I should be safe.

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