1st person or 3rd person

Acolyte01

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Which are you comfortable when writing your story 1st or 3rd person?
 

Wintertime

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I've tried both, and both have their merits. I like sticking to first person, because you can get inner thoughts of the protagonist, while also splicing in good narration and backstory.
 

Owl

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I like first person when writing more easy-going, comedic stories, other than that i prefer third person to include everyones views and thoughts rather than the limited first person
 

Kotohood

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First person if you know your character's personality. It comes with the advantage of knowing your characters first thoughts and how he sees the world. It also allows you to point out his immediate emotions and how he reacts to the situation.

I find the third person easier to tell stories outside of your immediate character. Like little details like how other characters are feeling or thinking. I also find it easier to describe outside entity without having the constraint of knowing that your character doesn't know what the object he is describing.

Dialogues are also different to write in first person and third person.

For what I'm comfortable in.
First person for a character you know really well. Inside out.
Third person for a focus on story rather than the characters.

Of course, there are ways and tools one could use to write regardless of Point of View. But it's always better to go with what you are more confortable in doing.
 

ChubbyLiv

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I prefer third person with character's thoughts. I like it when the character is a bit mysterious. :blob_popcorn:

For first person, the character has to be hella good for me to read. :blobspearpeek:
 

Ninetailed_Furball

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Depends on the type of story.

I tend to use first person because most of my stories follow a single character, and "getting into their head" is often a big part of it. It has the advantage that you are basically narrating their thoughts out constantly, and everything is from their perspective. That in itself can be a detriment, but the unreliable narrator style is very nice if you can keep it consistent.

The hardest part of it though, is telling things with only the MC's knowledge. It becomes difficult to explore things that the MC doesn't experience themself, or talk about things that the MC shouldn't know. Changing perspective makes that easier, but I think that perspective changes should be done very sparsely, as it really hits the pacing and flow, as well as the feel of the story.

I especially like using the perspective on characters that are hesitant or don't really understand themselves. I can write their thoughts, yet it won't necessarily be what they actually feel. Contradictions aplenty. Confusion and uneasyness is especially nice to write in this style.

Third person has the advantage of not only not having to follow once character, but also be based on whatever perspective you want. The god perspective is popular, explaining things that the characters can't know or understand. It's commonly used to explain a multitude of character's actions, but it has the downside of just being constant exposition, along with very little to anchor the story.

It also takes more work to get people to understand your characters, especially if they're more complex. Even more so when they act differently from how they actually think/feel. Imagine writing a tsundere when they weren't a well known archetype. Or maybe a character that's similar to one, but distinctly different? It's easy for the author not to be clear about the character without a ton of exposition.
 

jinxs2011

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others have mentioned similar and different good points, but here's what I've found, although I've mainly done 1st person in my own stories. 1st person is good for exploring a character's emotions, thoughts, interests and other such things, while I've found that 3rd person is excellent at describing situations, sceneries and events, because (as someone above has mentioned) in third person you aren't limited to a specific character's knowledge and what they see and experience, you can describe something even if no character sees it or knows about it.

On the other hand, switching to first person can be excellent when something is happening that you wish to obscure at least partially: Perhaps your character notices the action of another character that are later revealed to have greater meaning, or perhaps they observe some great artifact in a shop that looks like a fake wand to them. If the character is known to be curious and attentive to surroundings, readers may not pay attention to the 'superfluous' information, whereas if the narrator mentions something, they know that it's mentioned for a darn reason, and it can be more difficult to keep a sense of suspense and mystery without being all 'something is happening or about to happen. No, I'm not going to tell you what that is.'
 

Pistachio

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I've grown up reading 3rd person pov so, I'm much more comfortable with using it rather than the 1st. I find that the 1st person is too restricting for me and although the 3rd has its own troubles, introducing the world at large rather than focusing on one perspective is exciting. I suppose you can say that I'm writing not for the readers but for me, first and foremost.
 

Lurking

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First person if you know your character's personality. It comes with the advantage of knowing your characters first thoughts and how he sees the world. It also allows you to point out his immediate emotions and how he reacts to the situation.

I find the third person easier to tell stories outside of your immediate character. Like little details like how other characters are feeling or thinking. I also find it easier to describe outside entity without having the constraint of knowing that your character doesn't know what the object he is describing.

Dialogues are also different to write in first person and third person.

For what I'm comfortable in.
First person for a character you know really well. Inside out.
Third person for a focus on story rather than the characters.

Of course, there are ways and tools one could use to write regardless of Point of View. But it's always better to go with what you are more confortable in doing.
Wow. I dunno how to say this, but I feel like I'm getting smarter by reading this thread.

I usually just.. write.
 

Rustpen

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Honestly, I'm a big fan of third person limited. I view it as having the benefits of both first person and third person. You get to allow the POV character's thoughts and opinions and biases to seep into the narrative (show how he or she views the world), while, at the same time, you can very easily change POVs or ascend into an omniscient third person perspective (doing that when you're writing in first person often doesn't turn out nicely (I'm not saying that it can't be done; Patrick Rothuss, for example, constantly switches between third person and first person, but that's because in his story that makes sense)) allowing you to add little details and explain things that the POV character doesn't know/couldn't know.

Brandon Sanderson and Mark Lawrence, at least in my opinion, use third person limited and excel at it. Now that I think about it, Peter V. Brett, Josiah Bancroft, Scott Bakker, and Scott Lynch do it too (although some of them lean more toward omniscient third person while others lean more toward first person; Sanderson, for example, manages to hit the sweet spot of perfect equilibrium in my opinion).

Third person limited isn't entirely without its flaws, however. It's a compromise, at the end of the day, which means that you can't have it all. It's never going to connect with your readers as much as first person, nor do you have the freedom of third person (I think you get roughly 90% of the intimacy of first person and 90% of the freedom of third person (completely arbitrary percentages, by the way), so I believe it's still a pretty darn good compromise). I also find it considerably harder to write when you have to change POVs often, because that means you have to intimately know ALL your POV characters in order to properly allow their thoughts to permeate the narrative; you have to carefully consider what words to use, taking into consideration their relationships with other characters, their biases, their background, their views, and their prejudices. Doing that for one character is one thing; for several, it's completely different. On the bright side, that also means your characters are really alive.

Another issue is if a reader doesn't like a certain POV character. The way around it is to make all of your characters as interesting as possible, but there are no guarantees. There's also the problem of overloading the plot, but... well, those are all complications I'm willing to deal with because of how much I like third person limited.
 

Kotohood

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Wow. I dunno how to say this, but I feel like I'm getting smarter by reading this thread.

I usually just.. write.
It's about the process of learning and improving yourself! I'm still an amateur at it too!

I started off just writting as well, but when I re-read my stories I just know it was trash so I research up a bit on how to make it better and eventually I got the basics down.

It's not perfect but at the very least I don't have to re-edit my chapters like a gazillion times before I'm satisfied.
 

Ninetailed_Furball

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I forgot to mention it earlier, but if you're only using first person to get inside the head of a character, it's a trap!

First person is actually the most restrictive perspective, as you are unable to explore things that the MC isn't directly experiencing. Things happening behind their back? Maybe consequences of their actions are unseen by them? Or things start before the MC even reaches a new area? Maybe different characters have different opinions regarding certain events, but won't vocalize them in the MC's presence?

While they can be solved with POV changes, that in itself is a trap. Excessive POV changes is a common mistake that amateur writers make, and is often confusing, and really messes up the feel of the story.

First person also relies on the MC being pretty likable by the audience. That often gets messed up by their own thoughts. Excessively writing about their opinion on every little thing gets pretty annoying when it's not relevant, but trying to write about things in such a way to hide important details is very difficult to keep entertaining. Or else you can go the predictable route, but that also has it's issues.

Third person limited generally solves all these problems, and while it's harder to get the needed intimate details from inside a particular character, you can easily get a lot from just a character's exterior actions and some basic thought explanations. Though diving too much into that would make it omniscient third person rather than limited.
 

Phantomheart

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I write in third person omniscient (most of the time) with inserts of first person thoughts, and I find that this works well to give both the audience a perspective of the events of the story, but also can put a distance between them and the protagonist when it comes to aspects in my story like the mystery.
 

IvyVeritas

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I almost always write in third-person limited with multiple POV characters (divided by scene or chapter). It feels the most natural and gives me a lot of flexibility, and that's how my favorite authors usually write (such as Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan).

That said, I just released a first-person novella on Amazon a couple days ago, and that went pretty well, but it wasn't a fantasy serial. It was set in the real world so it didn't need much in the way of world building. I can't imagine writing a serialized fantasy series in first person.
 

glenn-fletcher

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I always write in third person, but it's kind've for a weird reason. With first person it feels like someone's telling you a story, so if I wrote like that I'd feel the need to implement some kind of framing device to explain why they're telling the story. I write by the seat of my pants, so I guess I just figure I'd eventually mess up if I did it in first person. Unless I had a good idea for a framing device that I could work into the writing of the story itself, I don't think I'd use first person.

Also, third person is better for showing more and telling less.
 

Andro

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It depends on the story. Most of my stories/fanfictions are written in 3rd person. But one of my BL-stories is written in 1st person + in present time. This is the hardest to write, but I really enjoy it. I like both by the way. :)
 
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