First Person Versus Third Person

When it comes to point of view, third person seems to win out both among readers and writers. There are probably more YA books written in first person than there are in other categories, but I’d hazard a guess that the majority of YA is still in third person. And I’ve heard people say that they don’t like reading first person at all.

When it comes to reading, I’m fine with first person, but I heavily favor third person in my writing. Unless I’m writing as myself, such as with this post, I almost exclusively write third person. That was never a conscious decision on my part. It’s what I naturally gravitated towards. Most likely that was because all but one of the books that influenced me most as a kid were in third person.

There have been times over the years when I’ve challenged myself to write in first person, and I have one particular project I wrote in first person and was very happy with. In that case, it seemed to fit the story. But, most of the time, writing first person feels forced to me, and I’ve stopped challenging myself to write it over the past year or so. Sticking to third person is familiar, and perhaps because of that, I think my writing is better when I use third person.

I’m impressed with writers who can effectively write first person. It has a lot of advantages as readers feel like they’re even more inside the character’s head. I also think it can help a lot as a writer if you want to get to know a character deeper, but for whatever reason, I just keep sticking with third person, and I likely will for now.

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