Monday, April 23, 2012

First, Second or Third Person?

Do you prefer to write in first, second or third person?
First, sometimes third.

I’ve never even tried to write in second person. In my opinion, writing a novel in second person must be very challenging. I doubt whether it would actually work if I tried it.

Writing from a third person’s point of view is rather challenging to me as well. Whenever I write in third person, I’m afraid I’ll “tell” the story rather than “show” it. Nonetheless, using third person seems to come automatically when I write short stories. I’m not really sure why that is though.

When I’m working on a novel, I definitely prefer to write it in first person. Somehow, to me, this seems easier to capture emotions and feelings. The reason why I prefer to write in first person is probably that, when I write, I try to think like the narrating character. I “become” the character in my thoughts and that’s why writing in first person comes easier.

I think that writing a story in first person is a form of influencing your readers. I’m not sure how much sense this makes, but don’t you think that reading lines like “I feel”, “I think”, “My hand hurts”, “I love him”, “I’m terrified of this”, etc… actually influence your brain into believing you actually feel those things? I think this is what makes (some) stories told from one person’s point of view more powerful.

What I also love about writing and reading in first person is the cluelessness of the narrating character, and how this influences the story. When a story has been written from a third person’s point of view, the author can add more information that makes it clear that the main character interprets things the wrong way, etc… However, when you see the world through the eyes of the narrating character, you can never be completely sure that what the narrating character believes to be the truth is in fact the truth.

Writing in first person adds a little more ‘mystery’ to a story, and, in my opinion, it also makes it easier to make the reader feel your character’s pain, emotions, thoughts, etc…  

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