A Lesson by Domenic Luciani

which should you write your story in?


Often times, when you read a book, without much analysis on the writing itself, you forget (or at least don't care) in which person the story is being told. Many writers choose one or the other and continue that sort of style for the majority of their lives.

Just so you know, which person you write in is not a life contract. You can switch it up whenever you want. However, it is best to stick with one and stay with it. Writing in a different person is like writing in a different genre, if you're known for one, the result of switching can seem unnatural, but then again it's just a possibility that's best to be avoided.

NOTE: do not go for second person, or at least don't show it to a professional.


FIRST PERSON: the advantage of writing a first person narrative is audience connection. When you speak from your own point of view, it makes the reader feel like you personally are telling them a story about yourself, which makes them feel for you/the character much more. It will allow you to be more descriptive with your actions and tell your emotions with more feeling.

NOTE: when writing a first person narrative, you must be careful. Everything you write is from the perspective of a different person, and you must change your style to match the tone of that individual character.

Disadvantages: The narrative can never leave the main character. This means that you can NOT under any circumstances switch the narrative over to someone else. You can laugh, but people still do it. It's unfortunate, I know. Anyways, your writing will most likely be shorter, seeing as other character's stories will not be able to be told without the aid of the main characters perspective, which means characters your main character is not completely familiar with will not get fair treatment.

NOTE: you need to be careful with realism in FP narratives, especially dealing with memory thought process. this follows up with the above note. If your story is from the point of view of an American teenager, then your writing should reflect that. Your word choice will be less sophisticated, there will be sarcasm (even in a serious story), the main character will worry about his/her appearances almost constantly, and he/she will rely on other characters for support most of the time. Stuff like that.

WARNING: their is a cliche' opening. It involves opening with the main characters explaining his/her life from some point in the middle of the story then jumping back with "But it all started when . . ." This has been done at least a million times before, and while it is technically 'acceptable' it really is not original, so I advise you to stray from that opening. Shoot for an opening that begins with an action, because chances are, it will always be original.


THIRD PERSON: The advantages of third person are much more obvious. You can tell a story from any characters point of view, switching back and forth whenever you want. It helps build suspense (have one character enter a perilous situation, then cut to a different character who is doing nothing particularly exciting, then the reader is desperate to know what's up with the first character). With third person, your personal style can always show through, no matter what age  or thought process the character is.

NOTE: third person requires a massive amount of world building (world building does not always pertain absolutely to fantasy).

WARNING: with third person, their is the ever present danger of the 'info dump', scourge of all writing. Beware of this.

The disadvantages of third person are not so noticeable. With the lessening amount of personal inquiries on the main character's part, the reader will feel less attatchment, unless the main character has something truly memorable about them. That doesn't mean that third person characters are less cared about the first person ones, it just means the reader will have a more difficult placing themselves in the main characters position.

NOTE: my personal preference is third person, because I'm an avid supporter of personal style. The choice is completely up to you though.


Which perspective to write in is not a life choice. But it does help to choose one and stick with it.


Questions or comments, feel free to post below, or, if it's intensely personal, shoot me a message and I'll answer as soon as I can (likely a few minutes, as I'm on most of the day).



Once again, lessons are written directly in cafe' box. Excuse grammar mistakes.

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Posted 1 Year Ago

Thank you very much....this was a real eye opener

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Posted 3 Years Ago

i agree with andre third person's alot easier

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Posted 3 Years Ago

third person is easier i find

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Posted 4 Years Ago


I think what he was getting at here was if you went with the first person perspective for your story then it shoud only be one character, but if you went with multiple characters in your story (as you've stated) then third person would be a better fit. this is his outlook on the subject matter.

It is also a realitivly solid writing style or process. What he states is more or less what I've seen in the published works I've read.

All that being said, if you have a unique way of going about it and you can pull it off, then writing multiple characters in the first person perspective can be a style breaker. Or rather your style of writing, and when you get it published you just might be setting a new standard. It's really up to you how you want to write your story. A good story is a good story regardless of style.

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Posted 4 Years Ago

So if I were to write a book where I have more than one main character, I can't switch back and forth in their point of views? I've done so in one story and I feel like it's a necessity because the two main characters were in two different places for a great part of the story.
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Added on September 12, 2010
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Domenic Luciani
Domenic Luciani

Buffalo, NY

That is my real name, and that is really me in the picture. Like Patrick says, I'm not in the witness protection program. I mostly write books and stories. I like fantasy, or fiction, but if..