7. Language and Style

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First Person?
What are some of the strengths and limitations of first or third person? Let's look at first person - telling the story from "my" point of view.

Strengths
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First person lends a personal immediacy to the prose, a sense that you're really getting an intimate look inside the narrator's head, thinking the thoughts and feeling the feelings.

more info
. First person works well for stream-of-consciousness writing.

. Done well, first person can be a powerful view of thoughts and events through the eyes of a single individual. This is especially true if there is something interesting or distinctive about that individual.

Limitations
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It's difficult to switch comfortably between first person and third. This means that you can generally tell the story only through the point of view of the narrator.

. One viewpoint means you can't tell the reader what other characters are thinking, except through the observations of the narrator. Although it is possible to switch viewpoints in first person, it is rarely done, and requires considerable skill to do well.

. In first person, you can't provide description or background information in the author's voice. (Whether this is a limitation or a challenge, of course, is entirely up to you.)

. First person is well suited to stream-of-consciousness writing. Oh, did I list that as a strength? Well, it's a hazard, too. Stream-of-consciousness writing can quickly become tedious. Use with caution!

 
 

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