Nathan Bransford, Author

Monday, July 9, 2007

First Person or Third Person?

First person or third person? Ah, the great debate that begins before a writer types their first "Once upon a time." Thousands of virtual trees have been felled for all of the pages and pages of debates on Internet writing message boards about this very topic. So which should you choose to write that novel??

Only you can answer that. Ha! You probably thought this was going to be easy. Twenty pushups, on your knuckles.

Nevertheless, I do have some thoughts that you might keep in mind as you're both making this decision and then putting it into practice.

The absolute most important thing to keep in mind as you're crafting a first person narrative is that everything that occurs has to be filtered through your narrator's perspective. Everything the reader sees is therefore infused with the narrator's personality and pathos. Things don't just happen in a first person narrative, they happen through the narrator's perspective.

The really compelling first person narrators are the ones where a unique character is giving you their take on something that is happening, and yet it's clear to the reader that it's not the whole story. You're getting a biased look at the world, which is central to the appeal of the first person narrative.

Think about it like this:

reality (the world of the book) >>>>>> || prism || >>>>>> the narrator's perspective and thoughts

One of the great tensions in a first person narrative, then, is between what the narrator is saying and what the reader senses is really happening beyond the narrator's perspective. This doesn't necessarily have to mean that the narrator is unreliable, it just means that we're seeing the world through a very unique character's eyes -- and only through that character's eyes. A protagonist might really convince herself, for instance, that she isn't sad that her mother died, but the reader senses that there's more to the story. Not necessarily unreliable, but it's also not the whole picture.

The other great essential element of a first person narrative is that the narrator has to be compelling and likeable. I may get a lot of grief for the "likeable" part, but hear me out. Nothing will kill a first person narrative quicker than an annoying narrator. Now, this doesn't mean the narrator has to be a good person, and hopefully the narrator is well-rounded enough to be a complex character. But the narrator has to pass the "stuck in an elevator" test. Would you want to be stuck in a room with this person for six hours? Would you want to listen to this person give a speech for six hours? If the answer is no, then you might want to reconsider.

Now for third person.

There are many different ways to craft a third-person narrative, and perhaps the hardest part is deciding how far you want to get inside your characters' heads. Do you want to use that god-like ability to really show the reader every single thought? Or do you want to keep their thoughts slightly hidden?

I tend to believe that the most interesting third person narratives leave some distance between what is happening on the outside and what the characters are thinking. This way, to take the example of a character's mother dying, rather than knowing exactly what the character is thinking, the reader does the work to try and empathize with what the character is feeling in that moment and based upon a character's actions.

Think about it this way. The diagram for first person is reversed for third person:

what the reader sees (reality) >>>>>> || prism || >>>>>> what the characters are thinking

The tension, then, is still between what's really happening and what the reader gets to see, but in this case we're using our reading ability and natural empathy to deduce the character's motivations and feelings based on the god-like narration of what's really happening in the world of the book. In other words, we see the outside world, but the inside is slightly hidden.

One of the very most common mistakes writers make in third person narration is doing too much work for the reader -- using the omniscient perspective to tell the reader what the characters are thinking and how they're reacting, rather than trusting the readers to do that job. Show not tell is the cardinal rule of third person -- show the characters acting upon their emotions rather than telling us how they feel. This keeps up that really fascinating barrier between what we're reading and what we sense is happening behind the prism.

So, to boil all this down:

The tension in first person is between a character's unique perspective and what is actually happening in the outside world.

The tension in third person is between what is happening on the outside world and what is happening from the characters' perspectives.

Now, there are many more distinctions between first and third person, so that's where you come in -- please add your two cents in the comments section. First person or third person? How should we further distinguish them? What are your tips for both?


David said...

I have the impression that many (most?) writers start out using first person and then come to prefer third.

Or maybe I just think that way because that's the way I changed. It certainly seemed like a natural progresssion.

Which is to say that it wasn't an objective decision reached after consideration of all the pros and cons. I just changed as I wrote more.

Dave said...

I prefer third person.

A note, since I'm one of the few people who will admit to actually liking Harry Potter books; Almost all of the books (6 so far) are from Harry's POV. He's the lens we see the world of magic through and all the other characters. The two exceptions in the books are striking: Voldmort and Snape.

Scott said...

An interesting and timely, and well-presented, post. Thanks.

I just weighed in on a debate on this subject earlier today.

Personally, I almost always prefer a 3rd person story, but I slowly feel that bias being broken down. As for writing, I wrote a first-person short story from the POV of a psychopath several years ago, when I was in the deepest depths of first-person loathing. But the story had to be told that way.

The result? a decent story, I think, but I couldn't go near first person in my writing for years (until now, actually) because being so deeply in that character's warped head scared me too much.

Fast forward to today. (Don't you hate it when people say that?) I have a MG novel I'm working on. Something was missing. The story's OK, but it just doesn't have any--something. So as an exercise I started rewriting it in first person. And guess what? The character came alive and the story is feeling a little more like I hoped it would. It needs a lot of work (it's more than changing "he" to "I"), but I feel like some of that missing something is showing up.

Kids seem to especially like first person stories, maybe because they're better at breaking down that fourth wall.

Reid said...

In first person, you're depending on your narrator completely. He's the first, last, and only source of information, and as you said, if the reader can't come to like him, you're sunk. I think it's a bit harder to get into the other characters when your world comes from only one focus. It's a "putting all your eggs in one basket" type of thing.

Of course, Reid occasionally likes to write and speak in Reid's third person, too. Reid thinks that works best for Reid's writings most of Reid's time.

Reid likes talking like this. It makes Reid feel like Deion Sanders.

Liz Wolfe said...

I think it also depends on what you're writing. My cozy mysteries are all in first person because cozy mysteries really lend themselves to that. My thrillers are all in third person, but a lot of that is very deep third.
And then there's James Patterson who writes the Alex Cross novels in first person for Cross and third person for other povs (like the villain).

Conduit said...

What an interesting post. Most opinions I read these days say third person limited, or close third person, is the market's preference. As a reader, I guess I like that too, but I've read a many good and/or successful books recently in first person (Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Odd Thomas and Every Dead Thing spring to mind). I also read The Interpretation of Murder, which used a combination of first and third person to good effect.

I find it interesting that you recommend a somewhat distanced third person. My WIP was recently grilled by a couple of very kind beta readers, and a common theme in their commentary was an occasional lack of proximity to the POV character - I wasn't deep enough inside the character's head. On reviewing the comments in preparation for the next draft, I have to say I think they're right in a lot of instances throughout the novel.

Then again, the theme of the novel is guilt and forgiveness set against a violent thriller plot, so the characters' personal motivations need to be intrinsic to the action. The story pushes empathy to the limit as my characters are entrenched in the murky greys between good guy/bad guy, so the reader needs to be right there with them to sustain the bond between the watched and the watcher.

In other words, it just depends on the story.

PS - I am instantly nervous when people talk about themselves in the third person! Richard Nixon was prone to this, apparently, as are a few of the 'celebrity' gangsters and criminals in my part of the world.

Jillian said...

Excellent post, Nathan, thanks.

I don't personally like him, but I think of Edgar Allen Poe when I think of first person narrative. His characters aren't exactly "likeable," but they are definitely compelling.

I prefer reading books in third person. I also sometimes lapse into third person when speaking to my children, who are all way too old to be spoken to that way.

("Mommy is really tired right now....")

Marva said...

The key is the distinct voice and perspective which is key to first person. I usually write in 3rd, but one project I have requires the vision of the narrator seeing the things going on around them and telling it from a personal pov. Think Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Written in 3rd, we probably wouldn't be reading them now.

On the other hand, I cringe when critiquing a story in first person. So often, it's filled with angst and (let's face it) juvenile bs. Oh, poor me. And worse: "I woke up and didn't know where I was." Yikes.

green ray said...

Great stuff to think about, Nathan, especially cause I'm beginning a new novel (I think), and contemplating which voice to use. Dave, it's to JK Rowling's credit, but those books are actually written in 3rd person, all of them. Same with Paul Auster's TIMBUKTU. You would swear it's from the dog's POV, but it's actually written in 3rd person also. I really like the technique that is used in GREAT GATSBY, and Somerset Maughaum uses this too: written in first person, but that first person is a minor character, and he tells the story as if it were 3rd person. I respect that technique a lot and may use that the next time.

Tirra Lirra said...

Question for Nathan or other "experts":

Do you think there are any great books that we wouldn't read or call great lit if the POV was changed from 1st to 3rd or 3rd to 1st?

Marva thinks so about Twain's, but I somehow remain unconvinced. Sure, the author chose the POV but did he or she do so for a reason? Was that how he or she was feeling led at the moment? Trying something new or at the request of a publishing trend? I don't think we know. What we DO know is that the classics are classics because they are well written, developed stories. I think they'd remain so even if the POV was changed. Yes, it'd be a different lens, so to speak, and the book would have a different feel, but the talented writer (Twain included) would work his magic either way.

Might be interesting though to take one or two today, rewrite the POV, and reprint--just to see what the reactions are or if anyone even notices.


PODler said...

A good way to create that tension is to use two or more first person narrators relating the same event. In such a setup, the contrast between facts and the unreliable pov becomes much more pronounced.

And whoever said that the third person narrator should be objective? A fun experiment would be to write a third person narrative by using an unreliable narrator, perhaps a trickster

jamie said...

I would just like to acknowledge the new word math, which actually seems to be some kind of word chemistry, in which words >>>>>>||pass through||>>>>>filters and become meaning [!]

Anonymous said...

My current project (also my first major one) is from 3rd POV. I've never tried writing from first, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the next project is going to be. I think that first will be far more difficult, because you have to maintain that tight focus on just one character and you can't leave one guy hanging for suspense and go check in with some one else.

-Christine, Maryland

ian said...

I've found that I prefer writing in third person for my longer works. I visualize them as movies and although I still have main characters, there are times when important things happen that the audience needs to know but the main character can't.

For short stories, I've surprised myself by preferring first person. Weird.


Anonymous said...

I actually write mostly in first person or with a very omniscient third person voice. I like to get into the feelings mostly, and discard some of the emphasis otherwise exerted on action. I prefer to delve into feelings that wouldn't seem quite natural at first glance. It's more fun that way.

Christopher M. Park said...

I haven't been commenting much of late (trying to cut back, you know, to do actual writing), but I have been reading. But tonight I just have to post, because this was a really exceptional post that made me think about the third person in a different way than I ever have before.

Depending on the nature of the manuscript, I've written in both first and third persons, and I don't really have a preference between them. The perspective has to fit the characters and the world of the story, which you alluded to--after all, which of the ways you described is the more interesting way to tell a story? I think that will completely depend on the nature of the story. Some books just wouldn't work in third person because they'd give way too much away or have too much distance from the protagonist to really convey certain facts; other books really require third person because they need that distance from the characters to keep the story moving, or because there is something of an ensemble cast, or even because it would be helpful for the reader to know more than the protagonist(s) at certain points in the story. I really don't believe that one approach is better than the other, though one or the other may be better than the other for individual stories.

Not that I think you were advocating choosing one and only one perspective, but some of the comments prior to mine seem to indicate that those authors feel that one perspective might be superior to another.

At any rate, the big revelation that your post provided me was that tension is caused by the reader of a third-person narrative not being able to see all the thoughts of the protagonist. I had never really thought about it this way, because I tend to write in fairly tight perspective even in third person. But I think a lot of writers, including myself, confuse writing in tight perspective with showing a lot of the pov character's thinking. But really, the narrator can be heavily influenced by the pov character without the writer actually having to show very many of the pov character's thoughts at all.

Thanks for that!


john levitt said...

Two things:

I think first person is easier to write, esp for a beginning writer. But it's really difficult to write first person well-- to pull it off, harder I think than third.

Also, know your genre preference. I write urban fantasy, and I would guess 95% of published urban fantasies are first person. Doesn't mean they have to be, but it's something to consider.

joycemocha said...

I really recommend that anyone who has Usenet access take a look at some of the material that Patricia Wrede has written on rec.arts.sf.composition about Point of View, especially the difference between tight third POV and omniscent POV. She lays it out in a good and understandable way.

Note: I strongly suggest lurking and getting the feel of rasfc before posting! The newsgroup isn't necessarily tolerant of folks leaping in without checking things out. But there *are* useful discussions therein, that is, when we aren't arguing about cats, chocolate and educational/Libertarian/economic politics.

For myself--I've written two novels in tight third in the last ten months, and a third with a more omniscent, multiple-viewpoint third. The tight third (non-omniscent) was more work for me, as I'm used to hopping heads, but I've been using it as a form of discipline. Even though the multiple-viewpoint one was more recent, it's the one that needs the most fixing , from my observation.

And as for first person--we hates first person, my preciousss, hates it we do.....

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I'm with Ian. First person for short works, and third person for longer. Sometimes I put my first person works through the "third person test" to make sure it's not just voice that's carrying the story. Surprising how much bad writing I've found in my first person work. It hides many ills.

Generally, though, as an editor, I don't care which, you know?

Janniel said...

My current wip is a faux-historical quest novel written in multiple thirds. I have to work on keeping the scenes of each character in proportion to the roles they play, but it's fun to see how the technique can be used for playing hide and seek within a story.

pjd said...

John said, "I think first person is easier to write... but it's really difficult to write first person well-- to pull it off, harder I think than third." And SSaS said, "Surprising how much bad writing I've found in my first person work. It hides many ills."

I agree entirely. Lazy writing manifests differently, but I think first person hides it with more cunning. E.g., in first person it can be more difficult to show rather than tell. When we're angry, we think to ourselves, "That guy made me mad." And it seems natural to write what we'd think. Adding swear words ("that @#$! guy") may be more realistic here, but it dilutes the telling even more. Better would be something like, "I wished I'd had Gramps' old hand grenade to lob into that guy's car."

Laziness is laziness, and it can happen in any POV, but "The bad driver made John angry" is much easier to highlight than "Oh, I was so mad." (Or so say I. YMMV.)

Regarding Huck Finn: A perfect example of masterful first person. Not only does it have the strong dialect, but it's got incredible voice. Well, what do you think? --that muleheaded old fool wouldn't give in then! Indeed he wouldn't. Said it warn't no fair test.... And so he warmed up and went warbling and warbling right along til he was actuly beginning to believe what he was saying....

Third person POV would have to have a strongly voiced, independent narrator to accomplish that kind of impact. Which, of course, is exactly what Nathan is talking about. Here we get Huck's perspective on the exchange rather than an outside observer's perspective, complete with his own interpretation of something he doesn't understand.

Which is all academic, though, because it comes down to the way you want your reader to interact (or not) with the story, the characters, and the scenes.

Normally I hate the POV wars (it reminds me so much of the Windows versus OS/2 days!), but this post and the comments made me think in a different way about it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I find that some character Voices lend themselves more to one or the other, and that's basically how I choose. By ear. :-)

As to which POV is easier to write, I think they have different pitfalls. Novice first person tends to be full of outside descriptions of the character, which tends to make the character seem acutely self-aware and self-centered. Novice third person tends to be full of head-hopping and hence a lot of "telling" about what everyone's thinking.


reality said...

Great Post.
I guess it is more important to have an interesting narrator, than a like able narrator.

Just a question: is there a good novel with an antagonist in First P?

JDuncan said...

This is always an interesting topic, and so subjective obviously given the posts here. I like both forms, though amusingly enough, my first completed novel is first person while all my years of writing before were third. First person is easier in a sense to write. You only have one lense to view the story with, unless of course you try more than one first person pov in the story. This is what I attempted, and it proved to be much more challenging than writing in third. The difficult part is making each voice unique and credible. So every time I changed scenes into a new pov, it would take me a bit of rereading, changing mindset, mood, etc. to get into that voice instead of the one I'd just been writing. I'm not sure I pulled it off very well, and as hard as it was, it was great fun trying to write that way. It really forces you to think about each character and what makes them different than the others and how they would view events differently. I likely shot myself in the foot trying to write a suspense with multiple first person pov's, since I don't really know of anything in the genre that's done that, and likely may be because no agents/editors like to see stories like that or maybe the reading public for that matter. I think though that if it's done well multiple pov's make for a more interesting read.


Josephine Damian said...

POV is the biggest bug-a-boo I struggle with as a writer.

I found this book to be a huge help:

Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

I have a list of other essential writing advice books on my blogroll at:

Tom Burchfield said...

My current WIP is written in third person, multiple POV. I go inside the heads of about five characters, three of them supporting characters. It's a supernatural novel. I'm currently blogging about it (no spoilers) at

I'm also writing a short story, another supernatural tale, but this one I'm telling 1st Person from the *monster's* POV. He's certainly not *likeable*, but I'm managing to make him (or It) compelling and interesting. And very funny, I hope.

Both these decisions I arrived at fairly easily with little internal debate. It seems to have been an intuition thing with me. I'm glad you brought this up, Nathan. I'll think about it some more and discuss it in upcoming blogs about my book.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of what Miss Snark had to say about POV:

I'm glad to see there isn't so much negative response to first person here. If you pay attention to what you are doing, the writing will tell you what POV to use. I like 3rd person. My first book (at querying stage now) and second book (working on second draft) are in 3rd person, and work well.

But when I got to my third book (first draft completed), staying in 3rd person would have been a mistake. The book is a sci-fi about a man who thinks he is a normal human being, who discovers he is a cyborg, an AI experiment who has a computer instead of a brain. Telling this story from anything other than his first person POV would not have been nearly as effective.

AWP :)

Alex J. Avriette said...

I was surprised to not see you mention whether the writer was any good at their choice. I personally find writing in the first person difficult. Charlie Stross' recent book, Glasshouse was interesting in its perspective. Most of the book was typical first-person, but there were a few parts that are not quite first-person.

At any rate, I am more comfortable in the third person perspective. Assess your skills. Know what you're good at, and especially know what you're rotten at.

Anonymous said...

In writing, as in life, there are no hard and fast rules. One has to find one's own way. Choosing whether to use 1st or 3rd person is not like deciding on a favorite color. Different narratives require different POV's, and one of the chief skills of the writer is in determining which will best serve his or her work.

As for all the "show don't tell" stuff, IMHO it's another one of those overused chestnuts. Amateur writers often tell things in a way that is boring; but many of the greatest writers tell plenty -- they just do it in a way that's interesting. Read Tolstoy, George Eliot, E. M. Forster, Thomas Hardy, Dostoyevsky, the list goes on and on -- you'll see plenty of telling. It just happens to be good telling.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I started out in third and came to love first.

I've read as much crap in first as I have in third. It's silly to think any kind is "easier." Since I was a beginning writer when I wrote in third, I tend ot think third is where people can go to escape from character voices, but I know that assessment has no more merit than the one here that says first is where people go to hide "tells." Neither is true. Both are true. It depends on the writer.

Instead of "likeable" I like the word "compelling." I hate Humbert Humbert, but I love the way he tells the story!

Tammie said...

Great Post Nathan. I liked your descriptions of both povs.

I've been drawn to first person pov but have to admit, if it isn't done well, it can be very dull and like an earlier post here said, the angst is over the top.

But when its done right, I find it the most rewarding ride as a reader.


Liz said...

I have an expectation for genre books to be written in a certain POV.

Urban fantasy, as was mentioned earlier, is usually written in first person. When I stumble across one that isn't, it bothers me now. Most historicals seem to be written in third. Although, I do enjoy a well written historical done in first person.

I wrote my first two books in third person and switched to first person for the third. For me, it was a liberating switch.

Anonymous said...

So many 'do's and don'ts'. Show, not tell, don't use portals, dreams, adverbs, 'ing' words. Beef up verbs, get to the chase blah, blah, blah.

My YA mss was written in first. One woman from my online 'support' group said, "Wow, a whole novel in first. Not many would attempt it.
Good luck with that!" like it was a big 'no-no' in the literary world.

Although everyone else agreed the 'voice' was good, I felt I'd chosen the wrong POV. Broken another rule. Now I can't write without agonising over every sentence. No fun anymore.

pixy said...

Wow, great discusion.

I let the story and character mull a while before I sit to write the story. It's weird but usually I hear the narrative like a voice in my head:

"On the turn of Eli's sixteenth summer his master branded him for use in the minds."

I heard that clear as day when I sat down to write the story. Weird.

I'm not a big fan of first person. Mostly because it's so difficult to do really well. But I have written a short here and there in it. They just take me longer to polish up right. One I've been working on for six years now. It's going to be a great piece if it ever gets perfected.

I've never heard 3rd person described like that--where the tension is. I tend to write in close 3rd, so I suppose my tension is faulty. :) I just love getting deep in the heads of the characters. My lates WIP is basically 1st, written in deep 3rd. A little experiment.

I also think the "voice" tells you how close you need to get to show it properly. That's been my experiance, anyway (not a voice in my head--the voice on the page--for those now a little worried about me). ;)

I'd like to try pulling back and creating the higher level of tension.

This calls for a short story experiment...

Anonymous said...

I actually love the first person perspective (both reading and writing) as well as the thrid person perspective. It all depends on what I am writing. For example, I am currently working on a manuscript that I started from the third person. Then, I found that I needed to to some character excersises, and I did those from the first person--and ultimately decided that the story is best told from the first person perspective. I also have a couple of different first person perspectives included--nothing crazy or anything. A short prolog that actaully sets the events of the book into motion (the story starts about 25 years after the event in the prolog) is narrated from the POV of a character that my protaginist will meet a few chapters in to the story. The rest of the story is narrated from the protaginist's POV.

Ruth said...

Interesting post! I always hated reading 1st person POV when I was growing up, although I've grown more used to it.

When I started writing, I always wrote in 3rd person POV. My current ms is in 1st person, but there's a reason for that. Whether the reason's good enough, I'll figure out in the rewrites.

I found it interesting - although annoying - in some books where it's all written in 1st person, but each chapter's written from a different person's POV (such as MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult). It was probably necessary that she did change perspectives - although I'm not sure if she had to use first person - but I found it irritating as it kind of jerked me out of the story every new chapter.

Vacuum Queen said...

I personally prefer to read in the 3rd person, but I feel like my strong point is writing in 1st person. Plus, I'm working on various MG projects and I feel like each one is working well in 1st. I hope so, at least.

Sometimes I feel like I'm at a party for someone else and yet I'm hogging the conversation and spotlight. That's what I'm a bit paranoid about with 1st person. Hmmm. Am I underestimating the MG readers by assuming they need 1st POV to follow along? Is 1stPOV the dummed down version or is it age appropriate?

hmmmm....I felt like I was doing the right thing, but I had to sneak this insecurity in here. Darn.

Anonymous said...

I gravitate towards first person because it elicits more empathy out of me. I favor getting completely caught up and restless as I obsess over what the character is going through. I like getting cozy in the crawlspace of their mind and I tend to choose there you go. First person works for me!

TeresaKThorne said...

Well, I started out writing in third person for many years. An editor made a comment that he wasn't able to emphathize with my character's position, so I tried first person and it really snapped the story. I couldn't get my next novel going until I switched from third person to first and then my character really started talking. I think, however, if I'd started writing in first person, it might not have worked.

Nicholas said...

Actually, I like to use both first and third person at different times for different reasons..... usually within the same story. (Let the fainting begin.) I know, I know, I've heard most of the reasons it's a bad idea, but it works for me. I like first for showing a character's reaction to certain situations, or just in general. It allows me to keep my work in the proper focus, and it allows me to add some punch to the story when it needs it.

But sometimes, I need to show more than first will allow. Maybe my main character is out cold, or too many things are happening in too many different locations for first person to be effective (For example, the bad guys overseeing battle preparations right after knocking out said character in the dungeon). That's when I step outside and see the entire world for myself. I can then show all the necessary parts I need in order to properly tell the story.

The problem with the mix the transition. Wither you're head hopping or not, you need to be sure your reader knows who's head you're in, or if you're in one at all. Plus keeping the flow of the story in tact is no easy feat, trust me I know. Still, as the saying goes, if it works for you, do it.

*looks at post* gee. Maybe I should start a blog of my own.


Alyssa said...

As a reader, I love delving into a novel in first person, if that person is a vivid, seemingly real character. As a writer, I understand it's a delicate balance to strike, but I live to know my characters inside and out. I want someone to tell me their story--and when first person achieves that, I don't want to put the novel down. I feel like I've been on a journey with that person. Of course, it depends on the scale of the narrative, but I found that for my novel, first-person was the way to. My narrator has a short-lens perspective, and my beta readers love the mood of his narrative. As a writer, I love being him.

Alyssa M. said...

I prefer first person. It takes you into that characters mind and to me it helps me get a strong visual picture of what i'm reading. You can make out what the characters look like, what rooms look like, what they are doing and you can do it just with reading a couple of words. First person just gives it life.

Here are some examples of the same book in first and third person:

First person example: My heart is racing, my stomach feels wierd and it the rope is really tight on my hands and legs. I can't get out of this chair. I'm screaming hoping someone will come and find me. But i'm all alone The man who took me was very tall and wore all black. His face was covered but I saw that he had brown eyes. Most of the people I know that live around here have blue or green eyes. Oh no, everyone except my old friend, David. A couple years back we got in a big argument over this one girl. He lives extremely close to me. We split apart after the argument and haven't seen each other since. Could it be David?

Third person: Sam is freaking out. He is screaming for help and trying to get out of the chair but the ropes are too tight. But no one is around to help him. He thought of what the man looked like. He remembered that the man was the only one with brown eyes in the whole area he lives in. However, the brown eyes remind him of his old friend named David and how they got into a fight. He also realized that David lives extremely close to him. Could it be David?

These are both of my own stories. PLease don't bounce an idea off of mine for any of your books.

Carolyn Ellis said...


I'm a newbie. :). I'd love for someone to tell me which POV I should use. Also, if I decide on third which I think I'm going to do, how do you "swap" between characters and still maintain the integrity of the book?

I'd love for someone to get back to me.

Kind regards,

Qt Ellis.

PS. Here's some of my short articles

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