Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Writer's Point of View

by Nancy Hinchliff

Although editors like it, not all writers prefer using the third person. Many writers, myself included, are actually very comfortable using the first person. The choice of which person is more appropriate is dependent on what type of writing you're doing: fiction or non-fiction, such as journalistic articles, blogs, personal narratives, memoir, newsletters, etc.

For fiction, the preferred point of view for most writers and editors is the third person, for many reasons. First, it allows for more intimacy with the various characters, and for a more general, all-encompassing view of what's going on in their lives and, especially, in their minds. Additionally, It shows the story from more than one set of eyes.
When writing fiction, the first person is limiting, personal, and few writers handle it well. That's why story editors don't like it. The very nature of it makes it difficult to tell the parts of the story outside the character's perspective. And, it's almost impossible to have characters speak normally, without long explanations and convoluted conversations.
With forms other than fiction, and especially with memoir, the first person works quite well and is most often the better choice.

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