Thursday, January 24, 2013

First or Third Person? - A Writing Journal

When starting a new novel or even a short story you have many decisions to make. Which tense should you use, which perspective should you be in? Today we're going to discuss the decision of which perspective to write from for your story; which "person" to be in. There are many pros and cons to both which makes it hard to choose which one is appropriate for your story.

Firstly, there is the first person perspective. This is the perspective that I most often prefer. This perspective puts you right inside the protagonist's head. Readers are able to gain a connection to the narrator much easier, and readers see their motivation more evidently.

However, this perspective also limits readers. Readers can only see what the protagonist and story narrator sees, and sometimes this hinders the story because the action does not always happen around the main character. If you solve this problem by using several character's in the first person, I caution you. Too many first person perspectives can get overwhelming, and because of this I'd caution writers to stick to one or maybe two. Writers need to remain consistent. Every chapter shouldn't be a new character's voice.

On the other hand is the third person perspective. The advantage of this perspective is that you can travel around the story and not be limited to one character. Writers are able to move with the action. Although, using the third person perspective, it is often more difficult to make a connection with the main character.

Then again, these options are only as good as you make them. All in all, it's up to you, and what fits your story best. These are some things to think about while starting your new story. Try out both perspectives and find where your strengths lay.

What do you think? Do you write in one perspective more than another? Which one? Why? Leave a comment below! 


  1. An interesting and insightful post...thanks for sharing it. Personally, writing in the first person is something I'm most comfortable with, but whatwith your helpful tips/pointers it seems either method serves a purpose as long as the author tempers it with wise usage. Thanks again for helpful tips.