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First or Third Person Preference In Writing

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:42 pm
by JaredScott5
When reading, what's your preferred Person for the narrator to speak in? In most of what I've read since high school, I've noticed that most works of fiction have the narrator speaking in the Third Person (He, She, It, They), but only on occasion is it written in First Person (I, We).

My general preference is Third Person. In my opinion, the First Person narrator often comes off as arrogant, incredibly stupid, or immature. I'm often annoyed when to the reader the Narrator say something along the lines of "See what I did there? Clever, right?" ::anger::

Now for context, I've only read around a small amount of novels/LN like this (because I dislike them, of course). For some of the titles First Person made since (in Romantic Comedy SNAFU the MC is in fact suppose to be an arrogant character), but for others at no point in the book was there a payoff where the character grows out of that immaturity. I don't know if that is a flaw of the perspective, the intention, or simply my misunderstanding of the narrator.

Now with Third Person, not only does it not feel like I'm being spoken to by someone frustrating, but I'm also given the thoughts of the other characters who are not the MC. Obviously, the narrator may hold back some details for the sake of suspense and mystery, but it never feels like the lack of details is due to the MCs flawed mindset towards others.

If there are any novels/ln that do go against what I commonly find in First Person story telling, I'd love to know what they are. ::happy::

Re: First or Third Person Preference In Writing

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 1:47 am
by BlueSpark
I've never read a light novel before, so all I can talk about is my experience with regular novels. I used to read a couple of those as part of the high school curriculum and then a couple more from graduation till the end of my college studies. I haven't actively read any novels (safe for VNs) in years now, so my recollection may be a bit hazy.

That said, I think there are comparatively few novel authors using a first-person perspective. It simply makes the narration much narrower because you're only looking through the lens of the MC's eyes. A third-person narrator can easily get away with cutting to a different place / set of characters, although in many cases, the narration will still follow the protagonist rather closely throughout most of the story.

I share your general preference for the 3rd-person style - in my opinion, it helps to more fully illustrate the world the story plays in. Plus you get to see more of the other characters involved. However, I'd say a 1st-person narrative has the upper hand when it comes to specifically psychological stories. The inner monologs are a big part of what makes stories like Steins;Gate, Saga of Tanya the Evil, Death Note, and probably (haven't watched it yet) SNAFU great.

Re: First or Third Person Preference In Writing

Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 5:55 am
by Eira
BlueSpark wrote:However, I'd say a 1st-person narrative has the upper hand when it comes to specifically psychological stories. The inner monologues are a big part of what makes stories like Steins;Gate, Saga of Tanya the Evil, Death Note, and probably (haven't watched it yet) SNAFU great.

I have to agree at least with the ones I've seen, those being Death Note and Steins;Gate. Death Note isn't really 1st person but it dose get a lot out of spending time in characters heads and going over what they're thinking which works really well. Although I'd say it only works well because it's also a visual medium, being a manga and then anime. I think a third person story but then having this much internal talk wouldn't work as well in a novel.

As for Steins;Gate tho, it pretty much is just first person, we only get Okarin's perspective on events and that works really well because it constantly means we only know as much as he dose, I guess what I say next is spoilers
Spoiler:
The first half of the story is just figuring out how the time machine works and every episode has a neat reveal and I'm pretty sure they start messing around with D-Mails long before they fully understand how it works, like the fact that the CRT downstairs needs to be on for it to work. And so having us go from being just as in the dark as the characters to being just as enlightened as Okarin as other characters don't understand the time loop he's going through is some really great writing and I think if that story had been more third person it wouldn't of worked as well. Not like there's much to show outside of Okarin anyway.