Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Strange Writing Taboos: First Person vs. Third Person


Do you prefer reading in first or third person? Maybe you use one over the other in your own writing? Maybe, you’re like me and you enjoy both!

For years, in both grad school and at writer’s conferences, I heard professors and agents voice their overwhelming preference for first person narratives over third person narrative. And I mean overwhelming. Not once did I ever hear the reverse. I always loved both first and third person, when reading or writing, so I was pretty surprised by Nathan Bransford’s recent post about how agents and professors had told him how much they don’t even take first person writing seriously. I did a bit of a double take when I read that, especially since it flies in the face of all the prejudices I’ve ever heard from the proprietors of so-called literature.

So what’s the deal with this sudden about face regarding first and third person? Do you find any validity in preferring one over the other? What have you heard from readers, writers, and agents in your neck of the woods lately?