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June 10: Do you prefer first or third person narration? (Mikaela @ Mikaela Reads)
Prompts: What kinds of narration do you prefer? First person? Third person objective? Third person omniscient? Third person limited? What are the pros and cons of different kinds of narration?
* Third person objective: The facts of a narrative are reported by a seemingly neutral, impersonal observer or recorder. | Third person omniscient: An all-knowing narrator not only reports the facts but may also interpret events and relate the thoughts and feelings of any character. | Third person limited: A narrator reports the facts and interprets events from the perspective of a single character.
Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH! Ever since I saw this on the schedule last week for the month of June, I was excited to share my thoughts a bit on this topic. But not only that, I also want to know if there’s a divide in the community with a preference over one or the other. Can’t wait to here what you all have to say!
For me, I’m not sure if it’s actually my preferred, hands down all the time, but I think I tend to like the first person narration. Of course, this is probably unsurprising because I enjoy mysteries and thrillers. For me, the first person narration certainly adds a level of suspense, and I like “finding out” the mystery and going through the suspense in the perspective of the main character. It’s also nice to get their thoughts on it to really help me immerse in the content.
I also enjoy third person limited for basically the same reasons. The limited knowledge can really add to the suspense and sometimes it’s nice to be on the close sidelines without being in the actual perspective of the main character(s). This is also more effective when there are multiple POVs and it may not be the most appropriate to use first person for all of them, though I have seen that as well.
Third person omniscient can also be good for mysteries and thrillers but the crafting will take more finesse, and the story usually has to be more complicated and messy. That is because the reader will know more than the characters, and will generally be able to predict, or at least see ahead a little bit of the characters. This can be used to create effective foreshadowing if executed correctly. Third person objective can also be used in a similar way without this drawback, but it also has some execution challenges because you don’t want to be so much on the bystander lines that the reader is not engaged.
The POV or narration that is chosen greatly affects the tone of a book. While I have never liked a book except for its chosen narration, it certainly frames how I think about each book, and even lends certain emphasis to things (like character development, etc., depending on the perspective). I find myself tending to prefer the exciting ride of first person, or at least, any perspective that really throws me into the drama as well so that I can experience the confusion and the clearing up, and that really gets me engaged. I am probably less picky about general YA, and for something like fantasy with a lot of description, a more wide-scope view like third person omniscient or objective can also provide a lot of value.
What perspectives do you all enjoy? Is it because of the genres you read, or just because you enjoy the perspective overall? Let me know in the comments below!