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narrative choice Once upon a time, I did not think much (or at all) about this question. Now? I am fixated on it.

The question: First- or third-person?

As many of you know (because I tend to mention this fact from time to time), I am currently working on my second novel. I am really excited about my story and my fingers are crossed that you will all have the opportunity to read it in the relatively near future. But. For now. I am a citizen of First Draft Land and am bogged down in some technical questions. And the thing is that I am not sure how much these questions truly matter.

I wrote my first novel Life After Yes in the first-person. I cannot imagine having told Quinn's story any other way. Getting inside her head, capturing her thoughts and dreams and neuroses, was essential, I think, to the arc of this tale. But now. I have a new story to tell. A different one. And I am faced with a dilemma. Do I stick with first-person, the narrative medium with which I am marginally more comfortable (and drawn to) or do I switch things up and go with third-person, a point-of-view with its own undeniable advantages (objectivity, breadth of vision, etc)?

The good news is that I think there is no right answer here. Beautiful stories are told both ways. I have encountered exquisite specimens of writing carved from both perspectives. In my estimation, a good story is a good story and compelling writing is compelling writing.

So. How should I decide? Should I trust my instinct, existent but far from firm, and stay in the first-person? Or should I challenge myself technically a bit and expand my writerly repertoire and render my next fictional world in the third-person?

Ultimately, this decision is mine. And I trust that I will stumble upon the right road -- for me, for my new characters. But the priceless thing about having this blog is that it is a space where I can honor my confusion and open up and rattle off four splendid words, and ask. You.

What do you think?

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  • Do you prefer to hear stories told in first or third person? Why?
  • Do you prefer to write stories in the first or third person? Why?
  • How much do you think this narrative choice matters, if at all?
  • Do you even notice or remember what narrative choice your favorite authors made?
  • Do you ever use your blog to explore your own dilemmas and seek advice from readers?

In Between

Take Rest