Writing First-Person: Pros and Cons

First-person is a point of view (POV) where the reader sees and feels everything through the eyes of one character. The words “I,” “my,” and “me” are some of the most common words in the book. First-person narratives are told as if the main character was telling the story. Here’s an example:

I walked up to the marble throne and blew off a layer of dust that cloaked its glossy finish. The sword laying across the arms of the mighty seat gleamed. I took it in my hands and pointed it vertically across my chest and between my eyes, perfectly centered. My time had come.

Many authors agree first-person is a neat way of telling a story. However, many people disagree and believe third-person is the route to take. Here are a collection of pros and cons that can guide you in your decision whether to use first-person or not.

First-Person Pros

  • First-person connects the reader with the main character in a way third-person can’t. While we cannot dive into the lives of others as much, the MC has the opportunity to be a very relatable character, and creates much more room for empathy from the readers.
  • The reader has a much greater connection to not only the MC, but also the story, with the first-person POV. Since the reader sees through the eyes of someone actually experiencing the events, they feel exactly what the character feels and depend on resolution just as much as the MC does.
  • In first-person, the reader cannot tell what is going on through other people’s heads any more than the MC can. While this can be a disadvantage, it also provides for greater mystery.
  • If used carefully, first-person can be used to give greater amounts of information to the reader quicker.
  • It makes the story more believable. Instead of having a third-person narrator tell a story, the reader obtains a first-hand account on it.
  • Writing first-person is more natural for the writer, since they speak in first-person naturally.

First-Person Cons

  • In first-person, the reader is stuck only with that one character, and cannot peer into the minds of anyone else (except for multi-perspective novels where different chapters change their POV). In third-person, the reader gets to know multiple characters a bit better, and the reader does not get tired of one person for the whole entire book.
  • The MC with the first-person POV cannot measure the gravity of a situation unless s/he is looking back from the far future. The character’s view-point is immediate. They can’t see the grand-scope of things.
  • With third-person, a story that can be told over hundreds of years, or over several countries. This can not be accomplished with first-person. The reader is stuck in the character’s life-span and location.

Books Written in First-Person

The Hunger Games
Divergent
Jane Eyre
Sherlock Holmes
The Lightning Theif

Books Written in Third-Person

The Lord of The Rings Trilogy
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Sisters Grimm
The Anybodies
Pride and Prejudice

I hope that helped you all make your decisions on POV. Just so you know, I personally prefer first-person.

Thank you! Hosanna in the highest!

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