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First or Third person: Which Form Suits You Best

When an author writes in his own perspective or uses his own point of view, he is writing in First person. This method is used for writing autobiographies (personal essays, memoirs et cetera) and for narration purposes. The use of ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘mine’ et cetera in the singular form is applicable to this method of writing. For example; 

1. “Having scored the highest marks in the university, I felt on top of the world.”

2. “We had to rush to the airport lest we miss our flight.” (Here, the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘our’ both are in the plural first person form).

 

Similarly, when an author writes in a third person, he uses pronouns such as ‘he/she’, ‘they/their’, ‘it’ et cetera. This method is used extensively for fictional (novels, short stories, et cetera) and academic writing. For example;

1. John has a habit of running late. He can never be on time.

2. Maria and David are getting married next month. They make a wonderful couple together. 

 

Which Form Is Better For You

 

For many writers out there, writing anything other than academic writing and student papers is a difficult task. Many amateur writers find it easy to write in the First Person while others may think that Third Person is a better form for them. Both these forms have pros as well as cons. One can never compare them and declare a winner amongst these two.

 

First Person: When one writes in the First person, the writer wants the reader to be personally involved with the  main protagonist and have no doubts about what is going on in his/her head; what they feel and desire in each moment of the story. The reader gets invested in the story so much so that they crave to know how the story will end for our main lead.

 

This is all well and good but while we are getting acquainted with our dear main lead, do you (the reader) have any idea what is happening on the other side of which ever town the story is based on? Yes, that’s right; you have absolutely no idea that the bad guy is planning on ruining the day. The basic fault in the first person form of writing can be that it puts all its focus and attention on the protagonist and how the lead character responds to his surroundings and not so much on the development of other characters. To move the story further, unnecessary scenarios, contrived ploys and forced interactions take place in which the main lead stumbles upon the bad guys plotting world dominance or overhears his/her friend in cahoots with the villainous adversary by chance (cue fake gasp). You get the drift, I hope.

 

Third Person: Now if we were to focus on the Third Person, we would see that it offers us a variety of characters that can share their point of view in the story and help move it along at a natural pace. It has the ability to help us explore the thoughts and desires of all the necessary individuals involved in the story. The narrator of the story can get into the minds of all the characters and with a few simple hints here and there, move the story along without letting the protagonist be any wiser to the plots taking place until the climax.

 

However, ‘new’ writers may find it harder to write in the third person as there may be too many characters that need equal attention in the book.  Writers need to have great characterization skills in order to spin a well-balanced novel; in which characters have great depth and are portrayed with a little (if not all) touch of reality.

Remember both the forms are equally easy to write and difficult to manage depending on how much skill a writer has.  Although the third person is a rather popular method among the writers today but the most important thing to consider is how well you tell a story. As long as you, yourself are comfortable with the method you use, there is no right or wrong way of writing. What matters is that you convert your imagination into reality. 

 

If you feel a personal bond with all the characters and an inclination to share their story as well, the Third person form of writing is tailor made for you. On the other hand, if you think you can do justice to your story by narrating it through a single person’s point of view, go write it down instead of procrastinating! Write what feels right to you and you will have a masterpiece in your hands by the time you’re done.