First or third?

RomaBaxter

Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
9
Location
Southeastern North Carolina
So, I'm starting a new book.. it's a mafia romance book, with a bit of arranged marriage in there, but also a dash of erotic as well.

I'm trying to decide if I should write in 1st or 3rd person.

What do y'all think? What do you prefer to read/write?
 

TStarnes

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 10, 2017
Messages
164
Reaction score
201
Location
Houston, TX
Website
tstarnes.com
Me personally, it depends on the type of story, but as far as I've been able to tell, most major titles are writing in 3rd person.

My personal view on it is that I like 1st person when its a story where I need to really focus on the protagonist (usually romance/coming of age) and 3rd person on stories where what happens through the story is the most important (usually action/drama).
 

ElaineA

All about that action, boss.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
7,397
Reaction score
4,520
Location
The Seattle suburbs
Website
www.reneedominick.com
So, I'm starting a new book.. it's a mafia romance book, with a bit of arranged marriage in there, but also a dash of erotic as well.

I'm trying to decide if I should write in 1st or 3rd person.

What do y'all think? What do you prefer to read/write?
You do realize this is the romance-writing equivalent of the pineapple on pizza discussion, right? 😂

In seriousness, I think it's whatever speaks to you. Romance readers are used to first, third, and mixes of first and third. Whatever seems to you to be the way to tell the story best, listen to your gut.
 

RomaBaxter

Registered
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
24
Reaction score
9
Location
Southeastern North Carolina
You do realize this is the romance-writing equivalent of the pineapple on pizza discussion, right? 😂

In seriousness, I think it's whatever speaks to you. Romance readers are used to first, third, and mixes of first and third. Whatever seems to you to be the way to tell the story best, listen to your gut.
You can mix them?! :oops:

How would that work???
 
  • Like
Reactions: ElaineA

ElaineA

All about that action, boss.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2013
Messages
7,397
Reaction score
4,520
Location
The Seattle suburbs
Website
www.reneedominick.com
I actually started to do it once, after I read a book that utilized it to really good effect. In that book the FMC was written in 1P and the MMC in 3P. It was all past tense.

When I converted one chapter of my story to this plan, it turned out fine. The people who read it didn't have any trouble switching 1P/3P with the POVs, which were already a switch for them anyway.

I really liked getting deeper in my FMC's POV because she's unreliable, and having that 3P for the MMC for the same reason. (He doesn't really know what's going on with the FMC except what he sees on the outside and what he's intuiting, so that bit of extra POV distance helped her stay more mysterious, if that makes sense). But, dang, it took a lot more brainwork for me to switch while writing. I kept finding myself slipping into the wrong POV and have to go back and find all the wrong bits. I was @[email protected] after just a few chapters and I gave up the experiment, even though I still think it would be a good way of writing that particular story.

As for your mafia story, if you already have an established readership, maybe consider what our "brand" expectation might be from your readers? Otherwise, it's a new story so you really can do whatever you want with it. A lot of contemp is 1P (but not all, by any means), Regency is mostly 3P, and some readers are so particular about POV they won't read one or the other, so you can't please everybody.

You could also try doing a "look inside" for several top-selling mafia romances (or whatever's hot in KU) and see if there's a pattern if you're writing toward publication. Or just do what feels right. That's probably the best way to tap into your best storytelling instincts.
 

SGilmourSmith

Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
Location
Kansas, USA
It's all a personal preference. I used to see 1P used mostly with YA novels, but I'm seeing it more and more in Adult. I think it really depends on whether your story is character driven or plot driven. If it's plot driven I would use 3P because the plot would benefit from different perspectives. If it's character driven I'd go either or depending on what you personally think works better for your story.

I've read that writing your scene in different POVs is beneficial to see which POV works best for that scene. You could do the same with 1P and 3P and see what you think works best for your story.
 

Imaginaryist

Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2021
Messages
49
Reaction score
32
Location
Some Places East of Eden
I have, in the middle of a story, backed and up rewritten some just to see how it might from another perspective. All prior information is good and valid and probably far better than anything I could say, still I'm just silly enough to think another perspective might be useful. I could be wrong of course. 3p is such a broad scope you have to be careful what you wish to focus on and not go astray chasing rabbits. 1p is much narrower and much like real life you are only guessing at what the other characters is thinking or feeling. I seem to remember (way back when) in my college classes they there trying to teach me how 1p was going out of style. It just seems an easier way to write to me. Just my humble point of view mind you.
 

Meemossis

Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
168
Reaction score
20
Location
UK
I would agree with many people here. It's all down to personal preference.

I once took some bad advice and changed my manuscript to 3rd after writing the whole thing in first. I listened the the tale of "1st is for YA and for younger audiences. If you want to be taken seriously, then write in 3rd. Everyone prefers 3rd."

It was a disaster. It lost all it's spark and humour.

Now I'm changing it back, but it's taken it's toll.

The best advice I can give you is: Once you do pick a side, then stay on it.
 

LucindaLynx

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 25, 2005
Messages
594
Reaction score
99
Location
Finland
Whenever I try to use the 3rd, my readers complain: "You're head - hopping!", but when I use the 1st, they stay on board better.
 

Fi Webster

Dec 2 - 5 waxing gibbous moon 🌔
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
1,573
Reaction score
2,296
Age
67
Location
Texas originally, now living in Maryland (DC area)
Website
www.ipernity.com
Romance readers are used to first, third, and mixes of first and third. Whatever seems to you to be the way to tell the story best, listen to your gut.
You can mix them?! :oops:

How would that work???
One way to mix them is to have the narrator be a full-blown character in their own right, someone who's telling the story for a reason. You wouldn't to specify who's "listening," just that the narrator's bursting with the need to "speak." That POV character could pull the reader in with a dramatic 1st person account (like a framing device) of how they came to know this tale, then switch to limited-POV 3rd person to narrate the story itself.

At any point along the way, you could drop back to the first-person frame, assuming the narrator has a character arc of their own. And the book could end in 1st person. But I've read lots of novels that start out in with a 1st-person frame, switch to 3rd, then never return to 1st.

ETA: Oops! This reply is so long after the question was posed, it's probably useless.