Friday, February 3, 2012

{RNW} Which Perspective?

I have had this idea rolling around in my head for a while.  The details are beginning to come to fruition and the story is beginning to take shape.  However, when I sit down to write, I encounter a real issue.  I thought it was time to turn to Ramblings of a Night Writer to hear what you all think and if you have experienced this dilemma, both from a reader's perspective as well as a writer's!  The dilemma?  --  Which perspective do I write from?

Shall I take a first person point of view?  This is where I tend to have begun the thought process and building of my story.  As I begin to sort out the details, I realize that some of these details may not be applicable if I write from the first.  I begin to wonder ... Should I switch it to all third person point of view?  As I begin to follow the details from this perspective, I feel that some of the character connection becomes lost and I'm not sure how to make up for it.  Switching back and forth can be confusing and disorienting at times, so then I become confused. How does one decide which voice to take?

Just in case anyone needs a refresher, here is the differences among the points of view (pulled from Wikipedia - Narrative Mode):

  • FIRST:  A character within the story is the narrator (portrayed as "I" or "we") and internal dialogue and feelings can be portrayed.
  • SECOND:  Rarely used in literature, the narrator switches to "you," allowing the reader to become a part of the story.  Think of the old school "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, in which the reader actually chooses the path of the story.
  • THIRD:  The narrator is a neutral party, able to view multiple characters as if watching from above.  Feelings of the character(s) may or may not become a part of the story.

WRITERS:  Have you faced this dilemma before?  How have you worked through it?  

READERS:  Do you find yourself preferring one perspective over the other?  If so, why?


  1. This is what the first draft is for, well, for me. My first draft is so raw that I call it a pre-draft. This is usually after the outline, which sometimes is raw too.

    In a pre-draft, I explore writing in different viewpoints, narratives, etc. Many minor characters will have a voice during this phase.

    Now as far as preference on reading, it depends on the writing. Personally, third is the most simplest to apply. With first person, many fall into the trap of using "I..." in every other sentence.

  2. As a reader, I don't really have a preference. So long as the story is good and I like the characters, I'm happy! Maybe just get it down on paper and sort out the narrator later? Sort of like the pre-draft 365andMe suggested?

  3. 365andMe ... You have brought up some great points! I really like the idea of your pre-draft. I think I might try that out. I have been so stuck on just choosing one perspective that it has really hurt the writing. Maybe I need to just let go and write! Thank you!!

    Alexia561 ... I really like 365andMe's suggestion! Totally going to try it out!


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