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I'm struggling to decide whether to write my novel in first or third person. Can you help?

I want to make my book extremely personal, and writing flashbacks in third person whilst making them personal isn’t the easiest thing to do. I also want to project a lot of myself into this book, which is why it seems more logical to write in first person. But I’m still confused. Third person is sometimes easier to write in, and it also flows better.
Could you read these two extracts (one in first and one in second) and tell me which one you prefer?
THIRD PERSON:
It was late.
The sky was pitch black outside, and she hadn’t thought to draw the curtains. She was only eight.
She was drawing yet another family portrait on a scrap piece of paper stolen from the top of the filing cabinet. She was always in the middle, the wide, ridiculous smile spread across her face in a steep black curve. They were on the outside, their hands linked with hers, their smiles equally as fake.
Claire still had her long curly hair from when the girl was born — and from the photographs back then, her beaming grin didn’t look so disillusioned. Keith, for once, didn’t look like the pillock reality perceived him as. The beard growing around his chin had disappeared, and his eyes weren’t bloodshot. She could remember the exact colour they had been in the picture, because it was one of the few images she struggled to hold onto.
FIRST PERSON
It was late.
The sky was pitch black outside, and I hadn’t thought to draw the curtains. I was only eight.
I was drawing yet another family portrait on a scrap piece of paper stolen from the top of the filing cabinet. I was always in the middle, the wide, ridiculous smile spread across my face in a steep black curve. They were on the outside, their hands linked with mine, their smiles equally as fake.
Claire still had her long curly hair from when I was born — and from the photographs back then, her beaming grin didn’t look so disillusioned. Keith, for once, didn’t look like the pillock reality perceived him as. The beard growing around his chin had disappeared, and his eyes weren’t bloodshot. I could remember the exact colour I’d drawn them as in the picture, because it was one of the few images I struggled to hold onto.
Thank you, XD
OAC
It sounds ‘old’ because she’s looking back on when she was that age. It’s not her channeling her eight year old thoughts through her older body. It’s her older body looking back at younger self.
… if that makes any sense.

11 COMMENTS

  1. 3RD PERSON! all the way. if you have it in 1st, then the 8 year old sounds way to old for her age, in the way she is speaking.

  2. It is technically very difficult to write a first person narrative. You can still make third person sound personal. I would stick to third person if I were you.

  3. I think third person is better. I mean, when do you hear an eight year old saying “I was drawing YET another…” unless the child is smart with lots of vocabulary… no offense xD
    I like the third person story better.

  4. I think first person works best. It’s a lot more personal than third person, and your audience gets a better connection with your character, which is important.
    Third person may flow a little better, but first works too.
    I’d suggest to try writing a couple chapters both ways, and see what you feel works with your story best. Then decide.

  5. Think about what is happening in the story. With third person you can branch out to third person omnicient and third person limited. Third person limited only has ONE character’s thoughts. The other is all-knowing, so you can switch back and fourth and cover more subplots. With first person it is not easy to tell other people’s stories and have suspense in say an evil character’s backstory and reasons why they do something to the main character. If you want it to be personal, I recommend first person. It makes more sense and sounds better then the third person to me.

  6. I usually prefer first person but in this case, I prefer third person. I know that must be frustrating for you, since you clearly want to write in first person. In all honesty, no one can really decide but you. It might only be that extract that sounds good in third person, so its your call. Do what YOU want.
    (If you have time or can be bothered, please answer my question, it’s about my own story 🙂 http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Aroq26dknZpp9qWlDkFXmDgHJ3RG;_ylv=3?qid=20100102153219AA10QC1)

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