Which POV – 1st or 3rd Person?

I’m working on my seventh fiction story and hoping to have it published sometime within the next two months. It’s entitled, Cadeyrn’s Tale. I generally write in the third person, but I’ve chosen to write this particular piece in the first person. It seemed best to me that Cadeyrn tells his own story.

First person POV isn’t right for every story, therefore it’s necessary to determine if it’s right for your story. Most commonly, first person narrative is found in young adult writing and youthful romantic comedies. But it most certainly can be used in other genres as well. To Kill a Mockingbird is but one example.

Determine if it’s Right for Your Story

What really needs to be considered is what is best for your story. Generally, first person allows your readers to become more acquainted and closer to the narrator. It allows the reader to get into the character’s head – but only his. Third person allows the reader to get into any character’s head. Consider that when deciding POV.

Choose a Tense

The choice of tense isn’t important, but do your best to keep it consistent throughout. Much of the time first person is told in the present tense, but it can work well using past tense also. You can begin in the present, as I did in Cadeyrn’s Tale, and go back to the past as the narrator tells the story from beginning to present. First person also works well with memoirs.

Purpose is Key

Remember that first person is more than a story, more than just an interesting plot. There is a reason the narrator is telling his/her own story. There is a message they want you to receive. Your reader wants to read the unique POV of this person. Why is your character telling this story? The story belongs to them so it must be more than just sharing facts amongst the plot. What is it that is compelling your narrator to tell you their story?

Have fun with it, but keep it all in perspective. First person isn’t right for every story. You, the author determines its effectivenss.

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