Post Reply When is it okay to write in first person narrative?
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Posted 7/7/16
Let me know if a thread like this one exist or not.
Thanks a bunches.


I need to know when is it okay to write in first-person. When is a story okay for first-person?


I'm writing a story where each chapter will revolve around eight characters. I want to write the story in first-person due to having trouble figuring out how to start it in third-person. The story will be styled after GOT(Game of Thrones). I need to know if writing the story in first person is okay or it is better to write in third-person. I really need answers.

Enjoy!!!
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Posted 7/7/16 , edited 7/7/16
There is nothing wrong with writing in the first person. In fact a lot of mystery stories make use of it.

One key thing to bear in mind though is that every part of the text has to be from the view point of the narrator. You can't insert an off-scene development as the narrator isn't there to see it, unless you use a "I didn't learn until later but around that time..." This is what makes it such a useful tool for mystery stories as the reader sees the plot develop at the same pace as the narrator. If the narrator isn't present in a particular scene to uncover a vital clue then the reader doesn't find out about it either.

Another drawback of first person is that you can't see the motivations of other characters. Continuing on the theme of a mystery story, if a character confesses their guilt, the reader has only the narrator's view to confirm it. If it was a false confession to protect someone else then the narrator wouldn't know and the reader wouldn't know. In a third person story you can narrate the thoughts of the other person in addition to their dialogue to confirm to the reader that it is or isn't a genuine confession.
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Posted 7/8/16
When I says so.
mnmike 
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Posted 7/8/16
MidoriNoTora makes two good points.

Another thing to be careful of when writing in the first person: verb tense. You either need to write in the present tense, which can get awkward at times. ("I am running to the store; I hope to buy bread when I arrive.") Or you need to write in the past tense, which is easier to do ("I ran to the store, hoping to buy bread"), but implies that the narrator is in a future position to tell the story. If you want to kill off a protagonist--or have the reader believe that it is a possibility--then you need to pay attention to that.

That being said, first person writing, especially from multiple perspectives, can be really interesting when done well. Telling the same sequence of events from drastically different perspectives can be a great way to dig into the characters' psyches--after all, what a character doesn't notice about a scene can be as interesting and important as what a character does notice.

In short, first person writing can be a very effective technique, but doing it well is a bit harder.
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