First-Person, Second-Person, Third-Person

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Terri2
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First-Person, Second-Person, Third-Person

Post by Terri2 »

Do you prefer to write in the first-person or third-person? Why?

Have you ever written a story in the second-person?

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Linda
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Post by Linda »

i usually just write in first person. idk it seems easier and comes more naturally.
"I hope you can't sleep and you dream about it
And when you dream I hope you can't sleep and you SCREAM about it
I hope your conscience EATS AT YOU and you can't BREATHE without me"

ClickForth
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Post by ClickForth »

Terri2 wrote:Do you prefer to write in the first-person or third-person? Why?

Have you ever written a story in the second-person?
If you haven't already read it, "If on a winter's night a traveler..." is a great second-person book.

JohnnyOstentatious
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Post by JohnnyOstentatious »

First person is good for mystery-detective fiction, I think; though, you can do a lot with third person, especially in genre fiction. For the novel I'm working on, in the draft, I did limited third person POV with the protagonist, but now in the rewrite I'm doing third person from different characters' perspectives. Limited 3rd person was too one-dimensional.

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DuchessAngel37
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Post by DuchessAngel37 »

I almost always use third-person. It tends to be a combination of limited 3rd person and omniscient, it depends on what I'm trying to do with the story.

I've done a few pieces in first person. Usually if my character is a bit neurotic and I want the reader to know what the character's thinking all the time, or if I'm doing visuals.

I have written a few visuals in second person, but it feels like I'm writing instructions and I don't like it.

tanya
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Post by tanya »

first person comes quite naturally to me, and although i love writing in third person omniscient i find that my narrator ends up sounding like an insufferable prick.... why is that?

newscribe
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Post by newscribe »

There really is no 2nd person narration. In most such cases, it is a first person narrator narrating to one or more other people referred to as 'you'.

Example:

You will want to know why, and you deserve an explanation. However, what happened on that day is not easy to explain.

Who is the narrator here? He/she is not the 'you' referred to.

newscribe
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Post by newscribe »

There really is no 2nd person narration. In most such cases, it is a first person narrator narrating to one or more other people referred to as 'you'.

Example:

You will want to know why, and you deserve an explanation. However, what happened on that day is not easy to explain.

Who is the narrator here? He/she is not the 'you' referred to.

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kaytie
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Post by kaytie »

Sure there is. Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney, is probably the best known title.

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, by Tom Robbins, is another off the top of my head.

What you've described is First Person Accusatory, wherein a first person narrator is there to tell you what's going on, sort of the Woody Allen narrator syndrome. (The author should not be mistaken for the narrator, unless you're reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius).

According to Wikipedia (and I'd gather the book cited on that page as a reference) the second person narrative is more common in other languages than it is in English.

Personally, it drives me insane trying to read a whole novel in the 2nd Person. It's probably the hardest POV for an author to get right. But there's a kind of a cult following for stories written in it.

mj_spickett
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Post by mj_spickett »

I always perferred writing in third person because it allowed me to play inside the minds of my bad guys however, I have a growing appreciation for the first person and began writing my new novel series, Women of Ravenwood in the first person. What was orginally just a challenge to see it I can do it has proven to be a lot of fun.

Jesse Minkert
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Post by Jesse Minkert »

First person has several problems for me.

1. Too many "I" pronouns. A first-person narrator is self-obsessed. I doesn't know how anybody feels but himself, and he believes everybody should be fascinated.

2. Justification. A first-person narrator has to explain everything she does because, well, we readers all assume that she can. So the fpn becomes engrossed in her own feelings and motivations. A third-person narrator can merely state that something happened and leave the explanations to us. Withholding information is easier.

Still, some stories need the first person. Recently I discovered a new form for me: the first-person story told in the third person. Think "The Name of the Rose," even though its really a first-person flashback. But a fpstittp is a story in which the narrator talks about an event earlier in his life and refers to himself in the third person as a character. It eliminates the pronoun problem and allows the narrator to be more detached, wiser than himself as a character. "The Ice Storm" by Rick Moody is such a story. The narrator admits at the end that he is one of the characters.

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AstonWest
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Post by AstonWest »

Most of my work is in first person...

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CassieXO
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Post by CassieXO »

Well when I write horror, I generally write third.
Romance, first.
and Fiction, third.

I know, darastic differences in genres, I'm still experimenting with writing!

sandranovack
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Post by sandranovack »

Depends what you need to accomplish. It wouldn't be wise (I'm guessing) to have a first person narration where the speaker's life is in peril, since by virture of first-person POV, the reader knows he or she made it through the experience okay. (Deflates narrative tension.) Well, and even that assumes past tense use for the narrative. Might be able to pull it off with first-person present tense.

Then you have examples such as The Lovely Bones, that defy even that "rule" -- a beyond the grave speaker.

Lots of people write in first person because they feel it's the most comfortable for them. This makes a lot of sense! But that isn't always a reason to use it, to my mind. My rule of thumb is that if you can substitute "he" or "she" for "I" easily--without having to change anything in the story--the piece probably could have been written in third instead.

Second person is used quite a bit and always has a fresh feel. That said, I've judged contests where too many second-person pieces in a row can be a bit grating. It's fresh, but it also gets old easily. (I know someone will point out Lorrie Moore or Pam Houston--and I did love those collections!) I wrote a second-person POV once and used Invasion of the Body Snatchers as a subplot structure. I thought the "you"--that feeling of being "taken over" by the writer--worked well, given the theme of body-snatching. Depends what you need!

Good luck! For what it's worth, I think POV is one of the hardest things.

RichardG
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Post by RichardG »

I would like to write as a first person because the thoughts are direct and comes spontaneously.

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