Sunday, September 15, 2013

17 Question of the Week: First or Third Person?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
September 15, 2013
FIRST OR THIRD PERSON?

My answer: I’ve always written in first person. It’s what comes naturally to me when I write. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, I used my diary to write stories about a girl who used her psychic powers to solve mysteries. I purposely did not hide my diary, in hopes that someone would find it and assume I was writing about myself. So of course, I wrote those stories in first person. The habit, I guess, stuck with me my whole life. When reading, I don't have a preference. I like both. But with writing, it’s first person for me! One day, though, I'd like to try writing in third person. Who knows, perhaps my next manuscript will be in third person.

YOUR TURN: Do you write in first or third person, or both? Why? Do you have a preference for reading?


17 comments:

  1. Hi Clara - I am still a neophyte writer, but will still weigh in - my first book was first person - it felt right for the character and the plot. The next book that I am working on is third person, and I chose that as I wanted to be able to show multiple perspectives. I found that first person really forces you to have a very strong voice, much more so than third person - but is that just me? thanks for this amazing blog - so helpful!

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    1. Hi, WMM! You're right that sometimes 1st person or 3rd person just "feels right" for the character and the plot. Having a strong voice is important too, whether your book is in 1st or 3rd.

      Thanks so much for your comment, WMM!

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  2. I write in third person because I don't want to be in my character's head THAT much!

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  3. It depends on the story. Multiple POVs usually sounds 3rd person when I'm writing it in my head--but one strong-voiced character will always be first person. I'm just finishing up a first person story in the midst of lots of third. The story just came that way.

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  4. I think it's helpful (and fun!) when I begin a new story to try out a couple different POVs. It gives me a feel for how I want the story to be told. I've probably written about 50% of each.

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  5. My first book was YA fantasy and it was in third person. I now write YA and NA contemp, and only write in first. It feels more natural that way and I can really get inside my character's head. Though that might not always be a good thing, since I also write from a 20 yo male point of view--and we all know how horny they can get. lol

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  6. For me it depends on the story. I think a longer bigger work is hard for first person which in my mind is better for shorter/average more intimate books.

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  7. I switch back and forth based on which POV bet serves a particular MS. If I need to get into multiple heads, I tend to use 3rd person closed for distinct chapters instead of switching 1st person POVs.

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  8. I don't have a reading preference, but I prefer writing in third person. Not sure why; I just like it better when I actually start writing.

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  9. First person - always. I need to be in their head, and the character needs to be in mine!

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  10. My first published books several years ago were all in 3rd. A few years ago I switched to 1st when I was struggling with deepening the character of Livie in THE HEALING SPELL. Now I write them all in 1st person POV - and have done my last two titles in 1st person *present*. Just came out that way . . . never planned it! :-)

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  11. My preference is first person, for a similar reason. Part habit, part because I can slip into the character a lot easier. Also, the current novel I'm working on is in first person for multiple reasons. For one, I prefer it. For two, my "target market" (AKA my teen who loves to read), says she prefers first person. I have seen a few advice articles that says "Don't write in first person", but the main reason being most writers don't know how to write in first person. Honestly, I can somewhat see where they were coming from. Although I believe the writing process is a constant work-in-progress, and as authors we are always looking to improve.

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  12. As close minded as it sounds, I refuse to read third person narrative, unless the book is deemed exceptional. I never feel like I truly connect with the characters because I can't become them, or walk in their shoes completely. The stream of consciousness or random thoughts don't come across genuine in third person. And if ther eis only one pov, I like not knowing anything other than what the character knows.

    As for writing, I never write in third person because I feel detached from the characters. My biggest struggle is writing in present or past tense or choosing a male or female POV.

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  13. Most definitely third person POV, both while reading and writing. First person POV makes me feel claustrophobic, especially if the book is too 'voicey.' That doesn't mean I never read books with first person POV, but the pacing and narrative style has to be exceptional to pull me in.

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  14. I used to write ALL my books in 3rd person past tense. Thought I'd never change. Then my agent said she'd like me to try rewriting my novel in 1st. Eeep! But I did, and it just "wanted" to be present tense, too. Now I'm not sure if I can ever write in 3rd/past again!! For reading, I enjoy either.

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  15. Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't commented on your comments until today! I was on deadline this week (line edits on RUN TO YOU Book 1 were due Friday!) so I was on the interwebz only for a few minutes here and there.

    BUT! Now I'm back and I love your comments! Everyone has their own likes and dislikes and their own reasons for liking and disliking, and that's great! Fantastic variety. Love it!

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  16. Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't commented on your comments until today! I was on deadline this week (line edits on RUN TO YOU Book 1 were due Friday!) so I was on the interwebz only for a few minutes here and there.

    BUT! Now I'm back and I love your comments! Everyone has their own likes and dislikes and their own reasons for liking and disliking, and that's great! Fantastic variety. Love it!

    ReplyDelete

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