How does everyone feel about a first person perspective?


#1

The story I’m currently writing reads a lot better in “I” mode than in “you” mode.

What are people’s thoughts on that? I noticed an older thread about a similar topic but I wanted to start a new one anyway.

It’s just so much easier to write in an “I” perspective.


The Choice between 1st/2nd PoV, and Present/Past Tense
#2

The problem I have with first person perspective is it gives the impression of how I should feel about things, not reflecting how I actually feel. Of course if written well I might be able to over come the flaw. I think it would be very tricky to pull off but more power to you if you are able to. :wink:


#3

But doesn’t “you” have the same flaw? Maybe even more so. To me at least, reading “I am saddened” feels a lot better than “You are saddened”, which sounds more like a command.


#4

Both are bad as you are telling the reader how to feel.

*Edit I avoid feeling in such a direct way, I will set the scene as sad but it is up to the reader to honestly to feel that way.


#5

Right right, The proper circumstance would be to create an environment of sadness and let the reader decide how to feel. In which case the I or You shouldn’t matter…


#6

I’ve always loved an “I” perspective and wish more people would write like that, but it’s understandable to see the issues people have with it.


#7

I avoid using ‘I’ as it is all to easy to infuse it with feeling the reader may not honestly feel. Of course that is just my two cents :stuck_out_tongue:


#8

Not read any books or interactive fiction that pulls it off well, but always open to new ideas. Do you have any titles that you would suggest?


#9

Samurai of Hyuga and Life of a wizard are both Hosted games written in first person. I don’t know of any others off the top of my head.


#10

That’s a good point, and Samurai did it well?


#11

There are advantages and disadvantages to both second person and first. What I’ve come to learn is that the one that suits the writer best is always best. That also goes for tense.

@Lordirish
When reading something in first-person perspective, the reader is essentially roleplaying the protagonist. Like the suspension of disbelief, the reader agrees to play along in order to experience a perspective that isn’t like their own. It’s not a trade-off everyone is willing to make.

The largest advantage to writing in first-person that I’ve found is that you are able to write in a very distinct tone. To give flavor to ‘thinking’, giving your words a personality that won’t jar against your readers’. It won’t break reader immersion because they’ve taken on this new persona.

And writing flavorful sentences and a distinctive protagonist is for me, extremely fun.


First Person vs. Second Person
What "person" works best?
#12

Unfortunately, not off the top of my head. If I remember any or find some new ones, I’ll try to remember to let you know.


#13

Looks like Samurai of Hyuga is


#14

I will try and check it out, not saying it cannot be done well, was only giving my opinion on the matter. :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

I think that liking or disliking a game written in first person all boils downs to how you feel about role playing games with set protagonists.

It’s like the difference between the Mass Effect games and the Witcher games.

In Mass Effect, the protagonist practically has the personality you want him to have, while in the Witcher, the protagonist has his own name, his own gender, his own sexual orientation and his very own distinct personality that influences the way he talks and acts.

They’re both different types of roleplaying. One type of roleplaying is you making your own character from scratch and roleplaying as it, and the other type is you playing as a set character, defined by someone else, and trying to stay in character.

The WIP I am currently working on is written in first person specifically because I enjoy games like the Witcher series, in which you roleplay as a set character, but I realize that not everyone who enjoys RPGS feels the same way.


#16

I agree that first person is more for a protagonist that is already set.

Second person is like an outsider looking in and trying to explain something they might not completely know about and that gives the author some leeway.

Has someone ever misinterpreted something you said or wrote (especially in the internet)? You might think someone looks a certain age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are that age. And, that’s the problem (? IDK if this is the right word) with “you” (second person).

“I” is definite. There is no room for disagreement or confusion (unless the person has multiple personalities or some mental disorder).

But, to answer your question, if it’s done right, the POV doesn’t matter. But, I prefer second person because I like designing my character, so I can avoid bad illogical MCs.It’s also easier to rewrite a second person scene than a first person scene if a personality is done too heavy handed, in my opinion.


#17

I guess I interpret second and first person opposite of everyone else -
First person separates me from the PC in that it feels like someone is telling me a story. I almost never feel I’m in the role of the character/harrator.

For example, Stephen King’s Dolores Claiborne is written in first person:

I braced m’self on my left hand and shone the light down into the well again. It was hard as hell to make myself do that, especially now that it was almost completely dark. He’d managed to get to his feet somehow, and I could see the flashlight beam reflecting back at me from three of four wet spots around the workboots he was wearin. It made me think of the way I’d seen the eclipse in those busted pieces of tinted glass after he got tired of chokin me and I fell on the porch.

In interactive fiction where I have to specify commands, I feel like I’m making suggestions to the character rather than inhabiting them. For example, if I’d had to choose “Shine the light down the well”, I might be the character’s conscience, or an advice giver, or a voice in their head. I am by no means feeling like I am Dolores.

If I rewrite this in 2nd person-present (with apologies to S. King):

You brace yourself on your left hand and shine the light down into the well again. It’s hard to do that, especially now that it is almost completely dark. He’s managed to get to his feet somehow, and you can see the flashlight beam reflecting back from three or four wet spots around the workboots he is wearing. It reminds you of how you saw the eclipse in those busted pieces of tinted glass after he got tired of choking you and you fell on the porch.

This feels more familiarly interactive fiction, and here, despite not being a middle aged woman, 2nd person invites me to roleplay the character rather than feeling like I’m texting another character their next action on a cell phone.


#18

1st, 2nd or 3rd person are equally valid.

2nd person present tense is the traditional format for these stories, so to work against that you’ll have to have a compelling and interactive narrative. But you can do that, right?


#19

When I switched from my shelved novel to CoG it felt weird to read “you”, but felt much better. I don’t think I could’ve felt the importance of the choices, or feel the story mine if throughout the story the author would refer to the protagonist as “I” and so. Writing like that also felt really weird for a while, but that’s a different story.

But on the other hand, as mentioned, Life of a Wizard did tell the story as if it was you remembering and narrating through your whole life. It was a clever change of perspective. Pleasantly surprising, and very good. Maybe it’s only just me, but that’s the 2nd best one I’ve read, right after Way Walkers, in my opinion. :stuck_out_tongue:


#20

I was sitting around thinking of what I’m going to do now that I’ve withdrawn from CSComp, and I came up with a weird idea. What would everyone think of a game that gives you an option of having it presented in first or second (or maybe even third) person? It would take A LOT of work, but I think it’d be interesting to give people an opportunity to experience a game in a multitude of ways that can really change the way you view what is being presented. Again, it would take A LOT of work to pull of, but I think it’d be interesting to see done.