Writing POV: First Person vs. Second?

#1

I am working on a supernatural romance and I’m torn over whether to write it in first person or second person.

What would you prefer?

Edit: Figured that I should give some context. I want to make the game as engaging and interactive as possible. I intend to have a lot of player choice, so that I’ll be dictating less of their feelings for them, since that always kind of bugged me in games. It is also intended to be multi-branch game.

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#2

Either can work, so IMHO I’d say go with the one that you feel most comfortable with. You’re more likely to finish the project if you approach it the way you’d prefer to approach it.

Yes, the majority of stories (including all CoGs) are told in second-person POV, but there are some very successful Hosted Games written in first-person, including Lucid’s “Life of” stories, and Multiple Choice’s Samurai of Hyuga series.

A possible compromise could be writing in second-person but peppering in some first-person POV thoughts from the MC in italics.

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#3

It’s up to you Enigma.

If your narrative/prose is good and your story is interesting to readers, they probably won’t mind whatever PoV you choose.

This topic has been brought up before in previous threads, so if you’d like some opinions from other forums goers/authors, you can check them out:

Second Person POV Writing Styles

First Person vs. Second Person

What “person” works best?

How does everyone feel about a first person perspective?

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#4

My preference is for the second person. It’s not a huge difference, but I find it helps to pull me into the story better.

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#5

Mostly it depends on which you feel more comfortable to writing, but I tend to find second person makes it easier for people to insert themselves into the story, if that’s what you’re going for.

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#6

she sneezed…and he coughed looking away…vs I looked around for something to bust the lock open…

Both would work . But I personally , find the 2nd a bit harder to imagine when you read . It can get quickly (in my mind) confusing . And in rare occasion , I can feel disconnected to the character . Maybe even unconfortable…depand . I guess when someone write with the 2nd ‘‘I sat on the chair…’’ , it can easely feel 'Oh I’m reading about the author character…instead of well…mine .

lol dunno how to explain it better , but imagine playing an MC is like wearing a costume . And in that 1st view…its like the author wore it first then handed it to you…and I’m like all ‘ewww no thanx’ . Where the 2nd view…there is a detachement…well not a detchaement but a distance…less…intimate…its far away . In this case , you don’t wear the costume given by the author…but a new one and stand shoulder to shoulder to a double made by the author…even if you look similar and are running trough the same maze written by the author…you have more controle…its more you .

#7

Third person master race!
But in all seriousness I prefer first person

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#8

First person: I
Second person: You
Third person: They/he/she

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#9

first & second person is kinda the same to me…

so you know , my point still stand .

#10

Personally the probability i like a Cog in First person are below zero. Why?
Because means my character becomes author character. The author when uses first person tend psychologically to put themselves into the work and use more and more personal description and everything. That torn apart any possibility of role-playing of different characters as description will be only based in ONE

In first person all is

I think that I like chocolate… I this and that… That destroys any kind of imagination and interactive feeling

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#11

Wouldn’t it be the same in second person, dear Mara?

You think you like chocolate, oh, and you definitely like this, and that

I think it depends on how the author manages to write a different character apart from themselves. What you describe could be found in a second person narrative as well.

I am still trying to figure out whether I prefer either of them.

The issue I encounter when writing either is, if I write in second person, it is harder to figure out where the line is between projecting unwelcome/unsuitable feelings on a MC, and trying to fill the page because the MC feels… blank.

In first person, the issue would be the focus. Would someone’s MC spend five minutes trying to figure out their feelings in every scene, or would they dismiss it entirely, focusing on the action?
The possible solution I see would be to allow the player to choose their MC’s usual thinking pattern or behavior. It means that I would have to write more, at least in the beginning, but it could pay off in the end.
After a while, it would mean less: “How do you feel” choices, as a variable (or several) would determine what your likely course of action would be.

I don’t know if it makes sense.

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#12

My experience is authors in interactive fiction is first person turns almost in a preset character with zero customization . The reason to use first is because author wants relate XHIS character I can’t imagine other reason to use first.

but I suppose a good author could write something interactive in first.

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#13

I think the knowledge of the narrator is pretty important when it comes to POV. The thing is, when you’re writing in first person, the MC is the narrator, therefore the narrator already knows everything the MC is feeling, whereas a second person narrator could be restricted in their knowledge. A restricted narrator doesn’t need to describe emotions to make the writing feel complete, but if an omniscient narrator neglected to describe emotions, the writing would feel incomplete.

So if I were reading a story where the entire thing was written like this:

“The midday sun shines down on me/you. I/you wipe some dried mud off my/your face and stare at the horizon, watching the distant sea for the first signs of the coming flood.”

For me, personally, in first person this would make the character feel like a blank slate in a bad way. The narrator is the MC, so why aren’t they experiencing their own emotions? First person makes the MC feel like a complete character, unique from myself (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but their lack of emotion might make them seem incomplete or like they have mashed potatoes for personality.

But with second person, the lack of emotion feels more like a blank slate that I can put my emotions on- this isn’t a character I’m reading about, this is me. It’s not telling me that I’m watching for a flood because I’m terrified or it, or because I’m excited. It’s not telling me that I’m wiping dried mud off my face because I think it’s disgusting, or because it’s irritating me. I get to decide how I’m feeling and why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I think another thing that can really effect a disconnect in first person, is just who the MC is. If I’m told that I’m Wallace, a sixteenth century french peasant who is afraid of snakes and longs to be a cabbage farmer, I’d be pretty okay if the narrator described how I/Wallace was feeling. But if I just when through a lengthy character creation and now I’m told “I/You feel an overwhelming sense of sadness because you stepped on a bug,” I’d be a bit put off. Sure, if Wallace is distraught by stepping on a bug, I can put myself in his shoes, but who’s to say my unique character has any reaction to it?

In the end, it’s just a matter of figuring out what would work for your story.

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#14

One asvice I want to give is planning ahead what story you want to tell and if that needs a preset character or not. if you want to do a preset do it but be sincere about it and player only controls the decisions but not the feelings and orientation of character In a preset like that a first could work

#15

I feel like I should provide a little context on what I was planning.

I found that with a lot of player-insert characters, the game spent a lot of time either offering me choices that weren’t in line with my thinking or just outright telling me how I feel. I really wanted to add a lot more player choice so that you can be whoever you want to in story. I know that it’s going to put a ton of extra work into the writing, but I think the extra choices will aid replayability.

However, I also want to be sure that the game is engaging and immersive. I want the player to have agency and be able to affect things within the narrative arc. So, I wasn’t sure if first person (‘I did the thing.’) would feel more immersive and engaging than second person (‘You did the thing’).

If I write the story in second person, I have really two styles of choices that I was thinking about:

“As the support beam comes crashing down, you…
-…run for the door! This place is coming down!
-…lunge towards the man, hoping to catch him before he can escape!
-…scream for help and hope your team can hear you over the splintering wood!”

Or:

“As the support beam comes crashing down…
-I run for the door. This place is coming down!
-I lunge towards the man, hoping to catch him before he can escape!
-I scream for help and hope my team can hear me over the splintering wood!”

Otherwise, with first person, it really makes the most sense to me to have all the choices be in first person, as well.

Ultimately, I just want to make something immersive and fun. So, all thoughts and opinions are valid!

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#16

I know that I’d rather have the choices written in first person, regardless of the POV of the rest of the story. Making a choice is a lot more active than reading the story, and first person aligns with that.

The guidelines for COG writing says this about choices: “It has all its options in the first person: it feels more immediate to make a decision as “I” than as “you.””

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#17

Im team first person, I enjoy creating characters and shaping their life and decisions, rather then imagining I am a participant.

Doing first person also allows you to state the characters thoughts and feelings easier without pissing off the player. Being told that I feel sickened by the idea of a town being burnt down will make me go “Lol, sure”, but being told that my character feels that instead I don’t mind too much. You already made this point so I don’t know why I’m repeating this, it’s been awhile.

But as a few people have already stated, do what feels best fits the story.

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#18

It’s kinda funny… I personally enjoy first person views in these types of stories but I tend to write in 2nd because… Idk maybe it’s easier? To me it’s just my personal style lol.
Try writing a short paragraph or two, one in first person and the other in second. See how it flows, do you feel engaged, all the important questions. Then pick one, and never look back :joy:

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#19

If it’s a ChoiceScript game, I’d always pick second person present tense (with first person choices), as per the classic “Choice of” story. It’s a formula that works for the tens of thousands of readers, and one of the coolest things about ChoiceScript is the seriously impressive fan base.

Otherwise, I’d think about which market it’s for. Some people find second person a bit too confronting because it’s so strongly associated with “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels. Others love it for the same reason. Whatever you choose will work, though, because it only takes a few paragraphs for a player to be immersed in your style.

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#20

like Einstein said, “why not both”.
There are excellent perks to 2nd person and 1st person, so personally I’d conduct the banile stuff in 2nd person like Gatsby and the tense shocking exciting moments in FP.

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