First Person or Third Person? What's Your Preference?

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First Person or Third Person?

When Writing or Reading Do You Have a Preference, and Why?


If you are a scribbler, which point of view (POV) do you prefer to write in, and if you are reader, do you have any preference when choosing books to read?

The reason I pose this question is because my friend, Anne, a voracious reader of chicklit, (she gets through a mountain of the stuff every month!) but will only ever buy books written in the third person. She detests stories written in the first, so much so that one of my recent books, Down into the Darkness, albeit a short one, she would not touch, when I mentioned it was written in the first person.

I found I quite enjoyed the change, and have even started writing another one that way, provisionally entitled ROWENA, though I suspect I shall always write my longer books in the third person, for it seems more natural to me. The first person choice appears to suit shorter stories and novellas much better, though I have no idea why that is.

I mentioned that Anne refused point blank to read DITD on Goodreads, and was quite surprised to receive several lovely letters (emails to you and me!) telling me that they absolutely adored first person books, and would only ever buy such things, and I should keep writing them, so clearly there is a big divide amongst some folk as to their preference.

It’s interesting that one of the most successful writers of today, Lee Child, when writing his eponymous hero, Jack Reacher, varies between telling the stories in the first and the third. I wonder what the thinking is behind that. Maybe he simply enjoys the change.

And also that John Irving, when presenting one of his tome-like books to his publisher, was told, or maybe more likely, advised, that it was okay, for a first draft, but it would have been much better if written in the first person, and could he please go away and re-write it accordingly, to which he blew out hard, and went off and duly did as requested, and of course the book went on to sell millions of copies. Perhaps afterwards he was glad he took their advice!

So, I pose this question to you today dear reader, or writer, which POV do you prefer, and why exactly is that?

Have a great day,

And night,

Have fun,


David Carter.


© David Carter 2015





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