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Writing in first person?

Kinare

RAWR
Anyone here with experience in this style?

I know it's typically frowned upon, or at least that's what I've been reading in some "tips" threads. Problem is, that's what comes naturally for me... I did a short story thing for an Ark RP group in 1st person and it came together ok I guess, people seemed to enjoy it (or at least were fake and I couldn't tell). Now though I'm going to try to write for realskies an actual story that can maybe be a book some day, so I'm wondering if it can work if I really put my mind to it, or if I should try my hardest to go with the standard 3rd person.

Are there any successful examples you know of in 1st person writing?
If you are someone who does it or are familiar with it, what are some tips you might have specific to this style?

Right now I'm stuck just on the first opening line simply because I can't seem to think of a 3rd person view way of putting words, arg.
 

TR273

Pirate Fox Mom
There's a rather good series of books written in the Warhammer 40k universe, 'Ciaphas Cain' written by Sandy Mitchell, they are told entirely from the first person point of view. The books seem to be popular in the 40k community.
 

Takkin

Writer & Hugger
I believe first person can work well enough, done properly. The general issue readers run into that causes dislike are when/if they're hopping between multiple characters in the same first person experience. So if you do, make sure you stay true to the first person narration throughout.

I personally pretend I'm playing a 3rd Person Video Game when I switch in and out of view points. It seems the words come easier. Then it's a matter of either limited or omniscient.

Hope any of that helps, and best of luck with your writing!
 

Kinare

RAWR
I managed to write a scene in 3rd person last night. It might not be as hard as I thought, I just have to fight that urge to go back to 1st person. Originally trying to write I couldn't find words to make it work in 3rd. Not sure what made my brain decide to do what I want it to suddenly.
 

larigot

Well-Known Member
It's not that uncommon. American Psycho is in first person for example. Is first person is your jam, stick with it.
 

NotaThota

Newbie Idiot
My English teacher goes crazy over it, she loves it almost too much. what i do is write in first person but have the point of view character be an onlooker. This lets you do character descriptions easily since the POV can describe your hero while still giving readers that sense of realism.
 

Ra'ara Su'nai

The golden-voiced fox
I'm probably a bit odd in this regard, but I prefer to write RPs in third person, and solo writing in first person. For example, when I'm writing my Wolf Children fanfiction, it's written from Yuki's point of view. To me that seemed easier, especially since that's how the movie originally was, with Yuki as both a character within the story and the narrator reflectively looking back over her own life.
 

PercyD

Lover of Beasty Baes
I would say that 1st person is limited. As a character telling their own story, they can't give the perspective of other characters. It's all just speculation on the character's part and that character can be an unrealiable narrator.

I would say that some classic literary works plays around with these aspects and actually does some interesting things with them. Mark Twain has a work that I really loved and inspired me to play around with first person more.

Having journal style entries or even "salty seatale" formatted stories provide a lot of potential for characterization of the narrator. It also challenges the reader to engage with the story the character is telling. Mainly, is this character full of shit or not-
 

KD142000

Leather-clad Lobo
Personally, I write in first person in most of my work, but I change perspectives often to give more info about what the characters are feeling, thinking, etc.

I think having one perspective all the way through needs to be done right in order to carry it through in a good way.

Maybe try switching perspectives (POVs) if you like? Otherwise, third person is probably the best option for stories that involve a lot of thoughts, emotions and actions (at least, that's how I see it)
 
S

Sablesword

Guest
Writing in first person isn't necessarily bad. It's been used in really good fiction, in really bad fiction, and in Great Novels that are really bad. And my first novel and it's two sequels were written in first person. (OTOH, everything else I've written has been in third person.)

I do advise against first person unless the story really insists on it because first person is hard to do well. The range of readers a first-person story will appeal to tends to be narrower. It forces the reader closer to the point-of-view character, and while that can give the story an extra kick, it can also annoy the reader. That's one reason why first-person stories are often written from the point of view of a blander secondary character - from the POV of Dr. Watson rather than Sherlock Holmes.

(In fact, a few Sherlock Homes stories were written from Holmes' POV - and in at least one of them, Holmes complained, in the story, that the stories written by Watson were better as stories.)

First vs third person is also a matter of fashion; it's popularity goes in cycles.

If you tried writing your current story in third person and it just isn't working, then go ahead and write it in first person. Two things to watch out for are (a) the closeness of the POV character being annoying to the reader, and (b) the fact that you can't reveal anything that the POV character isn't aware of. (And you have to watch out for making the POV character suddenly and implausibly perceptive or oblivious for the sake of the plot.)
 

Kate Marquet

Writing something, usually
I've submitted stories to the site from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person and I've seen popularity with each. It's just exactly how you set up the story and what you're trying to accomplish.

First person is limited in terms of what it covers but those limitations can be an advantage if you know how to use it. Knowing it's from one person's perspective allows you to get in their mind and enjoy that aspect of the change. There will be things that they certainly miss from their point of view and that should work against them in the story. Some of my more popular stories are from first person so there is definitely an appeal for people.

Second person is fun since it's like telling a story to the reader. But you can easily play with it and exhibit control over the reader as a fair amount of people seem to enjoy that.

Third person is an easy go to and can certainly work for most stories. I think it lacks the added personal touch that comes with the first two but the story itself is usually easier to understand since you have all the information.

Practice is the best thing to do with any story and even mentally trying to plan out a story in different POVs can help find the best to use.
 

LadySajani

Well-Known Member
I started book 3 in first person, but didn't make it very far. ie the idea didn't even make it past the planning stage. First person can be done from multiple points of view ( Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross). You have multiple story tellers. But where book three is running two separate plots (with a third in the background), I felt like the extra POV would be a little harsh on the reader. Just my take on it.

I've written some stories in first person and feel like they did fine. I don't really see much in the way of a difference on difficulty. Just about any POV you choose is going to have varying challenges. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie is arguably one of the most definitive works written from that perspective. Considering how famous that novel is, anyone that frowns on first person needs to get out more.

That said, I think you answered your own question. If you're most comfortable writing from that perspective, then keep writing from that perspective. Practice some from varying 3rd person points of view, but writing done by an uncomfortable author will usually be of lower quality than words written a comfortable one.
 

Deathless

ĎĴĔVĔĹĔŃ
Personally, I usually write better in first person. It helps me connect more with the feelings of my characters. Not sure why but whenever I write in third person, it kind of makes me feel like I'm telling a little fairy tale, no matter how serious the story is. I think that writing in first person will allow the reader to experience the main protagonist's emotions and thoughts more than others, at least to me!
 

hara-surya

Deviated Prevert
I like a style of shifting perspective depending on the chapter's content. One author I like, Charles de Lint, has a handful of characters he only writes in first person, but other parts of the story are in third-person and the change occurs at chapter breaks. A novel by Peter S. Beagle (The Innkeeper's Song) comes to mind where first-person viewpoint changed every chapter. I've dabbled with writing the present day scenes in a story in third person and the past scenes in an "in the moment" first person.

I found the technique works well if you have strong enough characterization to write a strong first-person narrative, but want to back out in other chapters. De Lint has lots of techniques for switching to first person, like reading from a diary or the chapter is someone directly recounting a story, but sometimes it's simply because he wants you inside of Jilly Coppercorn's head when she's the focus.
 

Keefur

aka Cutter Cat
I suggest you change your style. It isn't so much as what you best feel comfortable writing as what will your audience accept? It is a difficult and cumbersome style to write in for most people, and the biggest failings is that people have a tendency to fade in and out of the style while writing. If you must, write it in first person for your outlines and roughs, and then rewrite it in 3rd person. this is just my personal opinion and will not buy you so much as a loaf of bread at a day old bakery.
 
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