There has been a tread in the last few decades, yes young writers some of us have been penning words for a very long time, to write a book in first person. Let’s take a look at “why”.
Two older sources below gave some interesting points. Although, as a writer of third person fiction I don’t totally agree. I do however, understand what these sources are attempting to reveal.
The protagonist, the leading character of the book, easily can connect with the reader. Or should I say the reader can connect with the protagonist.
First Person Perks
- The reader gets inside the characters head
- The reader becomes the “I” in the story and has an emotional reaction
- The reader becomes the character’s best friend
All these things are happening because there is no filter, a narrator. The reader attaches with the “I” character and doesn’t need to sit and listen. Or do they?
From 1884-2020 books have been written in first person. One of the oldest being The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
“He was sunshine most always-I mean he made it seem like good weather.”
Attractions to First Person
- Emotional reactions
- Chronological events
- Shares feelings
- Comes across as a diary
Who doesn’t want to read a diary? Perhaps, that is the main attraction for writing in first person. It appears the larger audience who are interested in first person books are YA. Maybe in their youth they are struggling to find a future direction. Who knows?
What about third person books? Where do they stand?
From 1884-2020 books have been written in third person. An older example is from Little Women.
“There are many Beth’s in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.”
Third Person Benefits
- The narrator can float between characters
- The reader can know the thoughts of multiple characters
- The reader isn’t limited to one person’s point-of-view
“As the author of a novel, you get to decide who tells your story. Writing in the third-person point of view is like hearing an announcer call a sporting event—a narrator gives a play-by-play of the plot from an outside perspective.”https://www.masterclass.com/articles/tips-for-writing-in-third-person-point-of-view
So who doesn’t want to be a sports narrator? Perhaps, the reader who wants to peek inside a diary. Both first and third person points-of-view have their place on the book shelf.
Will I change my writing to first person? I think not. I like the challenge of third person. It would drive me nuts to continue writing “I” this, “I” that or wherever“I” may lead. The only time I would consider first person book would be a children’s book.