Why I prefer 3rd person narrative

I didn’t want to write fiction today as writing fiction feels like so much hard work. But I knew that even a short session would make a difference, so I sat down and did 45 minutes.

I’ve returned to writing in third person past tense narrative after a period of writing in first person present.

It is much much easier to write the traditional way even if it doesn’t score as many fancy pants literary points.

The problem with first person present narration is that the narrative becomes part of the story. What the protagonist chooses to describe reflects what matters to them. So, for example, if the protagonist has 100% lack of interest in her appearance it’s quite difficult to get her to mention what she looks like. You end up having to invent a scene or a conversation just to manoeuvre a description into the story.

In a third person narrative it’s far easier to drop in hints. The protagonist can be seen picking leaves out of her “curly red hair” after being caught in a storm. In first person the protagonist would presumably be too busy talking about the storm to mention her hair colour.

I’m writing in third person but attached to one character’s point of view. So I share her thoughts and feelings only. For other characters we only see their behaviours from the outside, just as my protagonist sees them.

Later I will introduce her love interest and will write some chapters from his point of view in the third person. It will be interesting for me to view the protagonist without riding along in her head.

4 thoughts on “Why I prefer 3rd person narrative

  1. I also prefer 3rd person, but just out of curiosity, if the character has zero interest in what she looks like and her personality carries her as a character, will the reader be that bothered about her hair colour?

    Liked by 1 person

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