View Full Version : First or Third person narrative?

James Dean
November 23rd, 2014, 06:07 AM
So right now I'm writing a novel. It's kinda hush hush now, it's about a bunch of guys who come together from different backgrounds and social statuses trying to outsmart the government and rob banks. I only wrote like five pages so far. This is just purely for my own satisfaction though. Never ever gonna get published. :cool:

Anyways, the book is in third person narrative. That means I'm the narrator and I control the characters dialogue. Example. John woke up and went to his kitchen to drink a cup of coffee. "I better head off to work" John said.

But many writers can also use First person in which the narrator is the main character and they write from the characters perspective. Example. I woke up and drank my morning coffee. I then decided to head to work.

I wanted to know what do you guys prefer is better for writing and reading in. Or are you like me and prefer both?

November 23rd, 2014, 08:47 AM
if you're dealing with several main characters I think you should go with multiple first-person narratives from each individual character's perspective, perhaps separated into chapters. I think the first-person perspective works best for telling a story because it lets the reader into the character's head in a like, real deep way maaan and is thus more interesting. third person feels like you're listening to the author dictate the story in a classroom lecture, and that kinda breaks the fourth wall for me.

edit: also I'd recommend not including pointless filler like "John woke up to the sound of his alarm clock" because we already know people go to sleep and wake up to alarm clocks. a story's focus should be on the character him/herself and their interactions with other characters rather than ye olde rooster's crow at the break of dawn and brushing one's teeth in the morning.

November 23rd, 2014, 08:58 AM
I think maybe you should try both. Have all the other characters in a 3rd person narrative, but have one of them in a 1st person narrative. Because in all stories there's a main character of the story. And you could be the main character and have him/her be in a 1st person narrative.

Jason The Great
November 23rd, 2014, 10:58 AM
I think the 1st person is better. I personally can make a better connection to a character who tells the story from his/her own mouth!

November 23rd, 2014, 11:14 PM
if you are going to do 1st, only have one of them be 1st

November 24th, 2014, 01:24 AM
I've been planning on writing a story too and going back and forth on that. The story is fictional, but it's going to be based on me and where I moved to. At first I was going to go with first person of course. But I decided it best to go narrative to describe my character. But I think maybe he'll keep a journal, so I can do first person too.

I have favorite books that are both first person and third. I can't say as I like one format better than the other. But my mom says she hates first person stories.

November 24th, 2014, 06:44 AM
I've read some awesome books having first and third person narrative each but i prefer third person slightly more than the first person narrative because it gives the reader more perspective according to me while in first person you see the world as the main character does.

I'm keeping my novel as a third person though because i have a lot many strings in my hand and a lot of them are being pulled without the knowledge of the main protagonist.

November 24th, 2014, 10:53 PM
I generally prefer first person. It's interesting to be inside the narrator's head.
However, with multiple main characters, who all have different things that happen to them while separate from the other main characters, third person might be best.
It depends on the story, I suppose.

November 24th, 2014, 11:02 PM
I've read some amazing alternating first person naratives, and those are always great to give perception. But like super complex stream of conciousness, inner insanity type books seem to be my thing at the moment in terms of perspective

November 24th, 2014, 11:07 PM
Noone going with third person?

I'm not particularly a fan with first person subjectiveness.

November 25th, 2014, 10:47 AM
Third person would be best to cover all character's point of view. My friend's dad is a publisher and he's told me that using first person with multiple main characters is a bad idea because it confuses the reader as you switch POVs and it also may confuse the writer. So it's usually uncommon for those book to get published. Third works best I think but you can also do third person limited if you want to do something like first person without using personal pronouns (ex: I, my), it narrates in third person but it's limited to one character.

I know it's long but I hope it helps, good luck!

November 25th, 2014, 11:31 AM
First person makes me more included in the story.

November 30th, 2014, 08:45 PM
SHould I be the hipster and pick second person? Because I love second person stories, it makes me feel in control. If you don't know what it is, it's using 'you'
Example: You woke up and drank your coffee. You then decided to head to work.
I also find it much easier to write in second, but it's very hard to find a story in second. However, if I'm sticking to the question, I think first, because yes, I know it's biased, but then it gets personal too.

November 30th, 2014, 09:01 PM
I like both, I think it works out differently for different books. I think second person is cool too but only rarely works.

November 30th, 2014, 09:48 PM

Saint of Sinners
December 5th, 2014, 09:35 AM
I like both but lean slightly towards third person. No idea why.

December 14th, 2014, 07:54 PM
When I'm writing I prefer third person. When reading I don't care, I like both. Most of my favorite novels are in first person though. The Catcher in the Rye, Flowers for Algernon, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc.