Thursday, 6 February 2014

Let's get intimate - or not, as the case may be

Yesterday we received an entry into the Global Short Story Competition which was written in first person. This touches on a debate that all writers have - which person to write in?

Traditionally, there are three categories, first, second or third person. First is when you use refer to I, second person is you (as is in ‘You might have thought I would have liked that‘) and third is he, she, they, their, his, hers, him, her, etc.

Most stories tend to be written in third person. I write in third person because it gives me the ability to oversee all of the story.

However, first person has its advantages. As most of our spoken communication takes place in the first person and much informal written communication is in first person (letters, e-mails, for example), many people are more comfortable writing in first person.

First person is also a great choice when you intend to write informally or casually. It can be chatty, relaxed, and intimate.

However, many writers would still go for third person. Why? Well, third person creates a sense of objectivity and distance and allows the writer to get on with telling the story.

Some would say that third person means the writer's feelings and personality become peripheral and that the author can simply tell the tale.

It’s all a question of choice.

John Dean

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