Why I Write in the Third Person

BooksMost fiction is written in either the first (I, me) or the third (he, she, they) person. I like reading them both and have written in each. (Blogging certainly lends itself to the first person.) But when I jump into a novel it’s third person all the way.


Because that’s what’s been going on in my head for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how you think, but I often think in the third person. There’s basically a running narration going on inside my head. Earlier today I was putting on my boots to take Thistle for a hike. I checked the bottoms and thought, “She decided not to put the boots on and track dirt all over the carpet.”

So, really, I’m narrating my autobiography (a very boring book) inside my head all the time. Maybe everyone does this. Maybe no one does. I tend to think it comes from reading books written in the third person A LOT when I was a kid. I’ve been writing a book inside my head ever since and these days I’m finally getting it out on paper.

Maybe that’s why I love writing. Pent up need.

So how about you? Do you have a preference for first or third person?

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

8 thoughts on “Why I Write in the Third Person

  1. I totally hear you on those early books–I read some w/my kiddos now and can’t believe the dialogue tagging. No wonder my first MS was littered with it. But I write in first person. Maybe that’s how my internal narrative goes…”I’ll get the pop-tart out of the package and put it in the toaster,” etc. I’ve tried re-writing a few chapters in third and for me it falls flat. But my crit partner writes an excellent deep third–so deep, I feel I’m reading first. I just like to submerge myself entirely in my characters’ heads. I think it might make some readers uncomfortable, depending on the character! Ha. I think you should write what feels most natural to you, because it will read the easiest. Looking forward to your third POV book next year!

  2. Somehow, Sarah, I doubt your memoirs are boring.

    I write third, and would not consider first-person.To me, it has two potential pitfalls that are very hard to avoid:

    1) Excess detail – there is a tendency to bring a first-person character through a scene ‘step by step’, rather than taking the God’s eye POV that ‘sees’ the path a third-person character walks

    2) Lack of scope for foreshadowing’; omniscience makes the process far less self-conscious and clumsy.

    I do concentrate on one character, though; the thoughts and motivations of other characters are known only through their interactions with my protagonist.

    And have a wonderful pre-Christmas weekend!

  3. I think in 1st,but write in 3rd. For ME, personally, I’m telling a story, not narrating one. I do want to try a 1st POV one day, because it’d be a challenge.
    But not now! Nope. I need to get out of my pj’s and function. At 12:34…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: