An important decision for a writer is choosing the narrative perspective. This determines the viewpoint from which the story is told. Two of the most popular perspectives are first person and third person. Let's have a look at their particular advantages and potential challenges.
First Person Perspective
This perspective uses pronouns like "I" or "we". The story is narrated through the eyes of one character, allowing readers to dive deep into their mind and emotions.
Intimacy: Readers can connect closely with the protagonist, feeling their joys, sorrows, and dilemmas firsthand.
Immediacy: The narrative feels current, as though events are happening in real-time.
Authenticity: A first-hand account often feels genuine, as readers receive a direct window into a character's experiences and reactions.
Limited Viewpoint: The story is confined to what the narrator knows, sees, or feels. This can limit the scope of events and insights into other characters.
Reliability: The narrator's biases or misunderstandings can skew the narrative, leading to potential misinterpretations.
Third Person Perspective
Using pronouns like "he", "she", or "they", this perspective can range from focusing on one character (third person limited) to peering into the minds of multiple characters (third person omniscient).
Versatility: The narrative can shift between characters, settings, and timelines with ease.
Broader Scope: Events can be showcased from multiple angles, offering a holistic view of the plot and character dynamics.
Objective Tone: The narrator can maintain a degree of neutrality, providing a balanced view of events and characters.
Distance: It might be challenging to foster the same level of intimacy as the first person, especially in the omniscient sub-type.
Complexity: Juggling multiple viewpoints requires meticulous planning.
When choosing between first person and third person, consider the story's demands, the desired emotional impact, and the depth of immersion you aim to achieve.