Choosing Perspective: First Person vs Third

The gobbledygook mess that is my current WIP is throwing more challenges my way. I had problems writing the heroine’s voice so I changed to first person and wrote the next 3/4 of

Still waiting to see if my primroses survived the winter.

Still waiting to see if my primroses survived the winter.

the novel that way … and now I think I’ve changed my mind. The question is why this is worth the extra work this will require (although why I keep changing my mind about everything is a good question too. However, no answer to that just now.)

The issue is first person vs third person perspective. And the limits and strengths of both.

An obvious strength of first person perspective is clearly allowing your reader to truly experience the story and experiences through your character. I also found it easier to get into their head when I was able to use the pronoun “I.” Even in works where I have written in third person, for some reason I sometimes find it easier to get into first person POV (point of view) to be able to literally get in my character’s head. This can allow for some very “in” jokes, and perhaps I was influenced to try out first person POV because I’ve been reading some great books (like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, the Grave series by Darynda Jones, and the dragon books by Katie MacAlister.)

That said, the reason I’ll be changing to deep third person is because I’m finding first person rather limiting. And, even in those great books, especially when it comes to romance, I’m frustrated that the non-POV character (usually the male lead) becomes a bit “shadowed.” Even when you try to show their experience and have them share their story with the heroine in her perspective, it remains the heroine’s story. Frankly, this is a problem for me because I believe a romance should be about both of the characters, showcase both of their stories (even if one has greater obstacles and a more significant character development arch), and allow the reader to see how both characters find love.

The other problem: despite the many issues I’m having with this current WIP (work in progress), somehow or other this is my favorite hero I’ve created so far. In truth, I probably like him more than the heroine, and I can’t bear for his story to be neglected.

To me, the choice of perspective (even choosing which character’s perspective a particular scene is written in), always comes down to who has the most at stake. And in this case, while my heroine perhaps has the most at stake, my hero still has something to lose (and gain) as well, and I think it’s only fair he gets to share the stage equally.

Of course, I’ve frequently been known to be wrong (and change my mind). πŸ˜‰

So, to you: Have you read a book written in first person perspective (written completely using the “I” pronoun like a confessional almost), where other characters came through extremely vividly? If so, would you mind sharing the titles?

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re all having a fantastic week out there. It looks like spring has finally decided to arrive. πŸ™‚

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