Monday, January 19, 2009

1st or 3rd Person?

I need your thoughts.

I'm playing around with my wip, writing some chapters 1st person present tense, 1st person past tense, and 3rd person past tense.

Which do you prefer?

1st person past tense:
I saw a ghost in my kitchen this morning, and now I can’t stop crying.
He appeared out of the ether, full of life and love. If I could have touched him, I bet he’d be warm.
The sight caught me unaware, and I sat at the breakfast table with my cup of coffee poised before my face while I gazed through the fragrant steam. He stood with his eyes closed, head tilted back, and ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time.

3rd person past tense:
Libby saw a ghost in her kitchen this morning, and now she can’t stop crying.
He appeared out of the ether, full of life and love. If she could have touched him, she’s bet he’d be warm.
The sight caught her unaware, and she sat at the breakfast table with her cup of coffee poised before her face while she gazed through the fragrant steam. He stood with his eyes closed, head tilted back, and ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time.

Well, which one draws you in more?

In other news: The photo below is so darned cute, but it's unacceptable to have my (sweet) puppy on my sofa cushion. Bayle thinks she's a princess. She's spoiled enough, see the toy basket on the right? She plays with each toy on a daily basis.


I took Bayle's photo and then scooted her off.

14 comments:

Jan Parrish said...

Your writing is so fresh and interesting, either is good. But if I had to pick, I like first person.

Stop by my blog and read the news.

Dawn said...

1st person writing always draws me closer to the characters and the story.

lynnrush said...

I like the first person. When I read a book, I want to be directly in the head of the main character. I want to feel what they feel. See what they see.

Blessings on your writing, Megan.

AnnaWaller said...

I've heard some people claim 1st person is much harder to write in, but either is fine. I will tell you this. At least with 3rd person, you're playing a somewhat omniscient role and get to see in the minds, make-up, and reasoning of more than just that 1st person role, which can be inhibiting. If the story should be told according to one person's/animal's point of view, I'm tickled pink to hear that being's own thoughts and ideas on the subjects around her. It's great both ways. JUST TRY NOT TO DO 2ND PERSON... HA HA!!! Have fun writing and may it flow freely from you, my friend!!!

~michelle pendergrass said...

Try this on for size and see if you find it more engaging:

"She sat at the breakfast table with her coffee cup poised before her face, the fragrant steam tickling her nose. His appearance caught her unaware as seemed to rise up ether, but she looked through the coffee steam as well, so it was hard to distinguish which was which.

He stood with his eyes closed and his head tilted back. He ticked off the beats to an old Louis Armstrong classic with his big, bony shoulders moving up and down, one at a time. And now she can't stop crying."


I totally get the struggle you're having. Switching from 1st to 3rd is (in my humble opinion) more about changing the focus than changing the POV. You can still get super close, just as close as you can in 1st, the difference, I think, is in the focus.

Don't doubt yourself. You can do 3rd person. :) It just takes some practice. (Trust me, I know!) LOL

Gwen Stewart said...

Hi Megan,

I tend to prefer third person past with deep POV both as a writer and a reader, but I also like your first person past. My least favorite as a reader is first person present.

Just my opinion...worth about half a cent! :) God bless you today.

Julie Carobini said...

I'm not a pov snob, so I read all kinds of books, lol... Both of your snippets look good, but I prefer the 1st one. I felt the ghost's presence more.

Kay Day said...

I also prefer the first person. And definitely like past tense better than present.

Sharen Watson said...

Definitely first person, past tense in this case. I'll get to your attachment in a bit. I was dismissed from jury duty, but have to complete the newsletter for WFTJ before that. Love you!

Megan DiMaria said...

Thank you all for your time and advice. I appreciate it!

D. Gudger said...

I hope I'm not too late - I kinda like the 3rd person. It gives you, the author more play b/c you can unravel your tale from different perspectives.

Ruthie said...

Usually I like to read books in the 3rd person .... then you can see what SHE was thinking and feeling .. and later what HE was thinking and feeling. However, I enjoyed your 1st person books. I liked what Michelle wrote.
Blessings.

char72 said...

I tend to like the third person version. I don't really know why. I just do.
I came here from Ruthie's blog. It's very interesting. I'll be back. Congratulations on the radio interiew.
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading 1st person because I feel I am experiencing the story more. But I agree with Ruthie that with 3rd we can know what more than one character is thinking.

As for Bayle's photo. You keep on spoiling Bayle and let her think she's a princess. We lost our 13+ year old Cocker Spaniel last month so hug Bayle often.
Jo Huddleston