Currently I’m working on the fourth volume of One God trilogy (so it’ll become a tetralogy—the first one in my carreer!). I decided you, my dear readers, deserved an explanation on how Miran (aka Miroslav) acquired hi-tech know-how fundamental to his Genesis company and with whom Miran pulled a fast one or who didn’t make it to The Will To Power. The working title of the book is MARYAH and I think some of you can’t wait the release (including my editor).
While working on MARYAH I immediately hit the wall, even before I typed the first sentence: what type of narration should I chose. Basically I had two options: 1st person (something like I broke into the lab and sought my way to the cooler) or 3rd person (He broke into the lab and sought his way to the cooler). Of course you can think of narrating the novel in 2nd person what I did in one of my novellas (not available in English yet and I doubt any interpreter dares to work on it) but let’s keep things simple. 1st or 3rd? What are the benefits of the options? What are the drawbacks? I put them down in this neat table.
Ease of Use
|Easier, since it’s simply natural.||Harder—nobody speaks of them in 3rd person unless they’re royal family members.|
Internal processing of the plot
|The characters show their feelings about the events and you can effortlessly sink deep into their psyche and plough it thoroughly.||It’s much harder to show the internal processes going on in characters’ heads. But it’s possible if you’re smart. See my Absolute Sunset for golden standard (I know, I know, I’m bragging a bit but the reviews don’t lie).|
|Chances are (and they are big) your characters will sound alike. It’s a real challenge to avoid it.||No problem with the cast consisting of a bunch of clones—you simply stay away from characters and speak of them as if they were your friends (or enemies). Still, let them behave in different ways! All of them don’t have to love tomatoes or lasagna!|
Whining and mulling over
|It’s very easy to immerse in endless considerations over the meaning of life or the right decision to make. Or cooking a diner or whatever. The worst-case scenario is organizing in the book a counseling office for yourself, and/ or kind of catharsis venue and/ or monologue trying to explain yourself why you did something.||It’s not that easy to whine. You can’t go on with what should she do or she fell into a pensive mood and considered her mother’s words. You won’t simply stand this kind of crap.|
Boring the reader to death
|This is somehow related to the previous row in my clever table. Boring the reader to death is very easy with 1st person narrative—just go on with dilemmas until the reader commits a suicide.||Boring to death is quite as easy as in case of 1st person—just go on with exposition and marvel the setting. Suicide guaranteed.|
Just like me!
|Readers easily identify with the characters.||The same provided you don’t suck as a writer.|
Next/ previous volumes in the series
|If in 1st person it’s fine. If in 3rd you may surprise the readers very much and discourage them to reading.||The same, for 3rd person of course.|
|Some stories prefer 1st person narrative, like psychological thrillers in my opinion (so why did I use 3rd for Absolute Sunset, huh?). However, it’s a judgment call—pick what suits the story better.||The same. 3rd person works out cool for action novels and romance I think.|
Ease of reading
|As a lot of head hopping happens when you narrate in 1st person the readers may find it hard to get the matter you’re talking about. Use subtitles or other means to direct them and help them enjoy your brilliant work.||I can imagine overwhelming head hopping here as well (I mastered it but my editor doesn’t like it). However, it’s much harder to confuse the reader I think. Just stick to the selected POV and it should all work out well.|
Despite how clever my elaborate post is please keep in mind that what really matters are your personal preferences. Some of us instinctively go for 1st person narration (me, me!) and some pick 3rd person and find it optimal (also me!). However, don’t stick to one way of writing. Try to experiment and write a couple of sample pages of the new novel both in 1st and 3rd person—maybe it turns out you actually prefer the other style than the one you’ve been using for your entire writing life.
Anyway: wish you fun on the way to the … I don’t know what—writing is a journey with no destination. And in case you got lost let me know, I’ll do my best to help you develop the best piece of art we can think of!