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Old 10-08-2017, 05:36 PM   #1
tbs04
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Does anyone have a strong preference on stories told in 1st vs 3rd person?

I'm working on a story based on some real life events and I'm curious how to tell it. Does anyone have strong opinions one way or the other?
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:01 PM   #2
electricblue66
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It depends how YOU the writer want to tell it.

First person can be more intimate, as you can get right into the head of your narrator, but the pov is limited to that narrator. Whereas with third person you can choose the level of omniscience of your narrator. Both work, both have strengths and weaknesses as a writing style.

Just because it's to be based on reality is irrelevant - both narrative persons can work. It's an individual thing, and depends more on your command of your writing than anything else. You'll see people here vehemently saying that first is "better" for this, third is "better" for that - if they argue too much in favour of one over the other, they're usually wrong

Just start writing, find the voice that suits your subject matter best. There are no rules; first person is not better than third, third person is not better than first.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:46 AM   #3
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I must have a strong preference for the first person, because sometimes when I'm writing in the third I find I've got so involved as the central character that I've slipped into first person. I don't remember having a problem of ever slipping into third when I was writing first.

With me, writing in the third is for a "mood" story, usually a period piece, where I'm purposely standing back to tell a story from a distance. Usually, I am part of the story and want to write it from inside one of the characters experiencing the erotic action.
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Old 10-09-2017, 02:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
I must have a strong preference for the first person, because sometimes when I'm writing in the third I find I've got so involved as the central character that I've slipped into first person.
The third - first thing's not happened with me (at least, I don't think it has); but my indicator of getting far more closely engaged (and agree, first person gets much closer, usually) is when my tense shifts from past to present.

I never quite know what to do about it - leave it as is, or edit for consistency. But it's a sure indicator that I've just written something unusually intimate - I normally don't spot it until the next day.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:50 AM   #5
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My personal preference as a reader is third. I feel like first person can be a turn off because the 'I' has to explain everything and I'm in their head the entire time and if 'I' thinks or says one thing that seems off from the rest of the story its more glaring.

I like third because it allows the writer to show the thoughts and perspectives of multiple characters in the same scene rather than have to donate a chapter to each character like you would to shift first person from one to another in the same story.

As I said though, this is what I like and think. I'm not condemning anyone who writes in first.
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Old 10-09-2017, 04:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbs04 View Post
I'm working on a story based on some real life events and I'm curious how to tell it. Does anyone have strong opinions one way or the other?
I prefer first person. When I'm reading, I want to strongly associate with the main character. However, there are times when a story is best told from third person, particularly when multiple characters have important scenes by themselves. I'm re-writing my Heather and Michael series. It was originally written as third person and I've changed chapters 1 & 2 to first person. But Chapter 3 fell flat when I tried to change it to first person because that chapter only works if I regularly change which character is the point of view for the story.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:08 AM   #7
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Neither point of view is better than the other. Great stories can be written in first person or in third person. I prefer third person, as an author, if not necessarily as a reader, because it's more flexible. For me, it's the default point of view, and I write in the first person only if there's some particular reason I want the story told from one person's point of view. Usually, I like to explore the points of view of more than one character, and you can't do that in first person. But that's just me.

You could try writing some of your story in one point of view and then write the passage in the other point of view and see which you like better. That's what matters.
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Old 10-11-2017, 11:40 AM   #8
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In addition to what's been said, it depends on the story too.

If your story involves more than 1 protagonist, you can't write it 1st person. (Well, actually you can but you have to switch POV and put each in their own chapter.) If the characters separate and go off to do things on their own away from your 1st person, even for just a couple of paragraphs, you can't write it 1st person. It's also difficult if your narrator starts to describe events at a distance from your protagonist - the "meanwhile back at the ranch..." kind of thing that the protag CAN'T know anything about - defeats 1st person POV.

For me, 1st person allows me to express the inner feelings, motivations, and desires on a more intimate/close level. 3rd person lets me expand the universe to include the development of unknown and/or upcoming events (both good and tragic) that my protag(s) have to deal with.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:14 PM   #9
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More important than whether 1st or 3rd is consistency. If you're in 1st person you CANNOT tell what someone else is thinking, and you CANNOT say what happened outside the narrator's sight or hearing. The only SLIGHT exception is if someone else tells the narrator, and even then it is hearsay, and might not be true.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:33 PM   #10
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You can't (and be carrying the voice) if you do that with 3rd person, either, unless you are writing 3rd person omniscient, which doesn't cover all possibilities of 3rd person. Most published 3rd person actually stays in one perspective.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:52 PM   #11
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I prefer first person. I like to identify with the story teller. I want to have that vicarious experience.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricblue66 View Post
It depends how YOU the writer want to tell it.

First person can be more intimate, as you can get right into the head of your narrator, but the pov is limited to that narrator. Whereas with third person you can choose the level of omniscience of your narrator. Both work, both have strengths and weaknesses as a writing style.

Just because it's to be based on reality is irrelevant - both narrative persons can work. It's an individual thing, and depends more on your command of your writing than anything else. You'll see people here vehemently saying that first is "better" for this, third is "better" for that - if they argue too much in favour of one over the other, they're usually wrong

Just start writing, find the voice that suits your subject matter best. There are no rules; first person is not better than third, third person is not better than first.
Perfectly stated.
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:06 PM   #13
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I default to writing in first, but some examples of where I've used third:

#1: "Red Callum and Sweet Cate": the protagonist is a fuckboy who comes to a very nasty end. First person usually implies that the narrator has survived long enough to tell the story, which wasn't the case here. Also, readers might not want to experience the "messy death" part of the story from his perspective.

#2: "Magnum Innominandum": this is a love story where the protagonist dies. I decided that I wanted my readers to go into it braced to expect a tragic, so they didn't hate me too much for killing her off later. For that one I started in third person to establish that Josephine had disappeared in 1928 and was never seen again, then flashed back and switched to first person to tell the bulk of the story.

#3: "Riddle of the Copper Coin": this is an Arabian Nights story-within-a-story thing, so the first-level story is told first-person and then the second-level story is told in third-person.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:37 PM   #14
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I've done both first and third and it greatly depends on the story. I will say I think it's much easier to do same-sex pairings via first person since there's no need to decipher which 'she' or 'her' the author's talking about in the middle of a paragraph.

Both of my incest stories have been in first-person present tense, which I feel gives the most visceral and immediate emotional impact, and both of them have had at least one Anon comment that "first person plural is as dumb as it gets" or something of that nature. Despite that, they've both scored the coveted red H, so either those views are greatly in the minority or the writing was good enough to overcome any normal reader aversion to that presentation.

Generally you'll figure out quickly which works best for a given story. If you're having a hard time doing one, switch to the other for a few paragraphs and see if your flow improves. If it does, there's your answer.
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