Who’s on First?

Person, that is. One could also ask Who’s on Third (person)? Because no one writes in Second person, unless they want their book to sound like a Choose Your Own Adventure.

So, I began work today on my next novel. It’s a sprawling fat fantasy novel with three different point of view characters, lots of magic, and a fair amount of blowing things up and danger. It really demands a Third Person point of view, since you can’t switch between 3 different First Person narratives without making your readers crazy.


The but is . . . I hate writing in third person. I tend to write from a very close and personal first person point of view, almost inhabiting the character as I write the book. It helps me to focus on the setting to “see” it from the eyes of my main character. First person is just my “thing.” Writing from third person seems unnatural and awkward, putting a distance between the character and the narration.

So, I have to make a big decision: do I cut out the extra viewpoints and make the book more focused on one character, or do I overcome my reluctance to write in third person and continue on with the book as planned.

I’m not entirely sure which way to go with it. Third person is the default for practically everything. I’m not sure why I loathe it so much, when everyone else seems determined to hate first person narratives. Yet I can’t really tell the narrative as plotted if I don’t have eyes in the various far-flung locations. Sigh.

Maybe it will come easier to me as I go on.



About endurancemom

Writer of fantasy and historical fantasy fiction, mother of 6, former nurse, Catholic convert, wife of 25 years, and general all-around geek. Warning: Do not attempt this at home. View all posts by endurancemom

2 responses to “Who’s on First?

  • dreamingwriter

    Kind of a late reply here, but … DON’T do anything you loathe! If you hate writing third person that much, you”’ really start regrettng it after 10, 20, 30 000 words. And that’s gonna show in your writing.

    Personally I don’t think jumping between 3 different 1st persons is a problem. Depending on how you do it, of course. As a reader, I prefer a clear seperation between the different narrators. (A great example is Tracy Chevalier’s Falling Angels. Lots of 1st person narrators, and she gives each one a seperate chapter and heads them with the character’s name.)

    Can’t think of a lot of good examples right now, a
    but I’m sure there are lots.

    I enjoy different narrators, because of the variety that you get. Keeps things from getting boring. (Which is also the reason why I love having more than one narrator! If I get bored writing one, I can always skip to writing a scene from someone else’s POV.)

    Although I read a lot, not much of it is straight fantasy, so there may be storytelling conventions and reader preferences that I’m not aware of.

    Good luck!

    • martibooker

      Thanks a lot 🙂 I have pretty much decided to hold off on my multi-book epic until I have a couple more novels under my belt. Maybe by then, I’ll have a definite vision for the POV shifts!

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