Being a writer – first or third – the narrators voice

Hello everyone, it seems like a long while since I wrote a blog about writing with everything that’s been happening with the Book Fair and a number of new releases, but here we are again.

Firstly, some personal WIP news:

Following on from last week, I finished the second draft of my Alien Spy 2 project. Coming in at around 36,000 I am very pleased. The next steps – passing to my editor and my beta reader for their feedback.

Now, what narrative voice to use?

Nearly all fiction novels are either written from the first person – I did this, I went there, or from the third person point of view – he/she did that, he/she went there. But, which should you use?

As with many of my blogs on the subject of writing, ultimately the choice lies with you – the author, but below is some guidance, just in case you are in any doubt.

Why should I use the first person point of view (POV)?

The reader will feel the connect with the narrator of the story. The action feels immediate – first person POV novels are usually written in the present tense. This connection will enable the reader to feel more invested in the story.

The possibility for more internal dialogue is possible as you can not just write what you see through the narrators eyes, but also their internal reactions to the events as they unfold, which may not be the same as what they say.

As a first person narrator, you will not know other aspects of the story line involving other people, which can be an advantage if you want to build tension, or a disadvantage if there are aspects of other people’s personalities or actions you want to bring in.

Why should I use the third person POV?

This gives you the freedom to explore not just your main character, but other secondary characters feelings and emotions and give different perspectives from other characters viewpoints.

It’s easier to be objective when you write in the third person – giving the reader full knowledge of the situation.

You have the freedom to explore other aspects of the story outside of what your main character experiences.

Be careful not to overwhelm the reader with too much information from too many different POVs.

Which is right?

That will depend on the novel you are writing and how you want to present the information to the reader.

Many people believe that writing in the first person is more natural, some even say easier, as the writer is in “conversation” with the reader.

Personally, I have written books in both third and first person. I like the immediacy of the first person format and the internal dialogue. I will be definitely writing more books in the first person, that said, I won’t exclude third person writing when I see the need.

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