1st Person vs 3rd Person

Ah, the age old debate, as classic an argument as GIF vs JIF, Coke vs Pepsi, or 9mm vs .45 caliber (it’s GIF, Coke, and .45, by the way).

So which is truly better to read? Well, that answer is different for everyone. As for me, I tend to prefer 3rd person, and here’s why.

I like to be told a story. I know I’ll be in the minority in this one, but generally I don’t want to be ‘in’ the story. I love the art of storytelling, and the omniscient knowledge that comes with a sweeping epic. Break the fourth wall, speak directly to me like a grandfather weaving a delightful tale. In a 1st person POV, I can’t get this. 1st person traps me inside of a single head. Most people like being inside of just one head, but my inner reader is restless and yearns to be free.

Plus, I see enough of me already. I don’t like envisioning myself as the main character, which 1st person kinda forces on you. When I read I have to have clear faces and voices for the main characters to truly be immersed in the story, usually the faces and voices of famous actors who I believe could totally nail that role. Placing myself as the main character just throws me off. Reading “I did this” or “He attacked me” doesn’t immerse me; in fact, it pushes me further out of the story because I know that isn’t really me.

Basically, I don’t like being trapped inside a single character that probably doesn’t resemble me at all. I’m a bit old-fashioned that way. I don’t want to be put in the wooly feet of Frodo and slog my way through the Dead Marshes. Put me on the back of the Lord of Eagles, flying high above the action, watching and hearing all.

So that’s my opinion! Feel free to leave your disagreements in the comments, maybe there’s a pro to 1st person that I’d never considered!

Published by Peter Martuneac

Marine, Boilermaker, husband and father. I'm here to share my thoughts on all things political or philosophical.

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2 Comments

  1. You and I seem to agree on alot when it comes to writing. This one I think comes down to a matter of personal preference and the tone of the story though.
    Oh and 9 vs 45… Accuracy matters more than caliber. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a matter of preference. I’m actually tinkering with a new story in 1st person present at the moment haha.

      I agree on accuracy, but I’m a sucker for the classics haha. The best advice I ever heard for picking a caliber was this: the best round for personal protection is the one that hits the assailant.

      Liked by 1 person

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