Author Topic: First Person or Third?  (Read 802 times)  

Offline Joseph Malik

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2017, 02:42:09 PM »
Framed narrative...okay I'm still a newbie, but would an example be the movie The Princess Bride?  I haven't (gasp!) read the book.

Frankenstein. Stories inside stories. The Princess Bride is written in Omniscient Third with an opaque, character-driven narrator.
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Offline March

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2017, 02:51:51 PM »
Have you browsed through best seller lists to see if one is more common than the other within your sub-genre? If you feel equally game for either, you may want to defer to what your target readers prefer. I would imagine that by and large third is the preference, but YA might swing more towards first.

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Online GeneDoucette

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2017, 03:32:46 PM »
Frankenstein. Stories inside stories. The Princess Bride is written in Omniscient Third with an opaque, character-driven narrator.

I do that in Unfiction. Portions of the book are stories written by a character in the book.

Offline Abalone

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2017, 03:37:54 PM »
Depends on the storyline and the market.

Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2017, 05:34:12 PM »
Is First of Third an adjunct to Unimatrix Zero?  ;)

I think it's related to Seven of Nine.  Or something.   :P





To answer the OP's question, it depends on the nature of the story.  Can you effectively tell the whole story from a single character's point of view?  If not, then third-person is probably what you want.

For the record, I like both equally, and I write in both, so I have no bias in either direction.

The thing to keep in mind is "available information."  Think about how much information is going to be available to the main character.  Also take into account the tone of the story (first-person tends to be more informal, for example) and which method is easier for you to write in.  But the "available information" thing is the first criterion you should consider, because that's what determines whether the story will hold up in first-person or fall apart.

Anyway, just my two cents.  Good luck.  :)

Stories inside stories.

Rothfuss does that in The Name of the Wind.  He starts in third-person as a framing device, then switches to first-person for the bulk of the novel.  It's a time-tested and effective method, and one I'd like to try some day.
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Online Kal241

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2017, 05:42:46 PM »
I mix the two; third-person for the main content, first-person in italics for the character's thoughts.

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Offline Joseph Malik

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2017, 06:44:16 PM »
Have you browsed through best seller lists to see if one is more common than the other within your sub-genre? If you feel equally game for either, you may want to defer to what your target readers prefer. I would imagine that by and large third is the preference, but YA might swing more towards first.

Respectfully, I beg to differ, here, but it's not a "one or the other" proposition. There are many different types of each POV. The trick is to figure out what voice inside your chosen POV tells the story best. The problem the OP is having is not a POV problem. It's a voice problem. To solve it, he has to delineate the voice within the point of view.

There are four common forms of first-person POV: subjective narration, interior monologue, memoir, and objective autobiography. There are two common forms of third-person POV: limited and omniscient, and other, lesser-known forms, including framed narrative and dramatic objective. They each tell the story differently. Each also has its own rules, which you can break or bend to different extents. And it's not a matter so much of sticking to the rules of each, but of knowing what they sound like and what they convey, so that they allow you to develop a framework that tells the story the way you want to tell it.

Rothfuss does that in The Name of the Wind.  He starts in third-person as a framing device, then switches to first-person for the bulk of the novel.  It's a time-tested and effective method, and one I'd like to try some day.

I totally spaced this. Yes, he does. It's a very cool device.

I do that in Unfiction. Portions of the book are stories written by a character in the book.
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Online Douglas Milewski

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2017, 06:53:10 PM »
Man: I want to know about first person.
Woman: The woman standing before you?
Man: Yeah. I want to know.
Woman: She's writing third.
Man: No, I want first.
Woman: Third's all that she can do.
Man: I thought that you said that you were first?
Woman: She never said that she was first.
Man: But you just did.


There's a joke there somewhere if someone can figure out the beat.

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Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2017, 06:55:06 PM »
Have you browsed through best seller lists to see if one is more common than the other within your sub-genre? If you feel equally game for either, you may want to defer to what your target readers prefer. I would imagine that by and large third is the preference, but YA might swing more towards first.

This. Exactly this.


Online GeneDoucette

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2017, 07:13:00 PM »

Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: First Person or Third?
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2017, 07:26:18 PM »
You just made a sale, my friend.

 :)  You're a good guy, Joe.

Man: I want to know about first person.
Woman: The woman standing before you?
Man: Yeah. I want to know.
Woman: She's writing third.
Man: No, I want first.
Woman: Third's all that she can do.
Man: I thought that you said that you were first?
Woman: She never said that she was first.
Man: But you just did.


There's a joke there somewhere if someone can figure out the beat.


Continued...

Woman: Nope.  And now you're second.
Man: And so are you.
Woman: But you're still not first.
Man: :(
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