History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

First Person vs. Third Person

I posed this question to my writing group last night, which got me some answers, but it also sent us off on wild tangents about 4th person and 5th person (among other things).

When writing a story, how do you decide if you want to tell the story in the first person or in the third person?

This comes up because I’ve been working on outlining the story that came out of my dream.  I’m reluctant to use first person because somehow it seems like that’s how all of the paranormal romance stories are told. (I base this all on the Twilight series, the Sookie Stackhouse series, and some of Angela Spencer’s works in progress that I’ve been lucky enough to read.) So part of it is me being obstinate and wanting to be different. But part of it, too, is just not having a sense of the why behind first person vs. third person.

If you’ve got any good links to other authors noodling about this, I’d love to see them, as well as to hear any thoughts you may have on the topic.

(I will note that the answers from my writing group included: first person if you want an unreliable narrator; otherwise they just go with first person if it feels right for the story.)

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