Why I Prefer to Write in the Third Person

This was a guest post I wrote early last year. My dearly missed friend Janrae suddenly realised I had to write some by the next day and kicked me into gear. I spouted out some nonsense. Feel it might just be worth putting up here:

I think I just love looking over the world and characters I created. I think I like feeling like God, to be honest. I love to have that overreaching view of everything, to see all views, to see all plots and plans and intents and decisions. I think I also like to be impartial. Yes, some of my characters will appeal to me more than others, but I don’t want to play favourites. I also don’t like being pinned down to one view only. I don’t want to think like just one character or see the world through their eyes only.

Most of all, though, I write third person because so many of the books I have read were written that way. It became something I never even thought about for a long time. I read fantasy books where the POV would vary so often. I read science fiction where you had to see the universe from multiple positions in order to understand it.

David Gemmell was a big influence on me as a reader and a writer. I loved his books, especially his characters. He wrote third person and I loved how I could see the good and the bad in everyone because I saw through so many eyes. The hero could be a killer to someone they were talking to while judging that person as a coward because they didn’t fight back. In a conversation you were treated to both individuals being judged, and those judgements would reflect on the one doing so as much as the one they beheld. I loved that and love to do the same.

I hope I’m not getting snobbish about first person but it has never appealed to me. Perhaps because it reminds me of writing stories as a kid and only doing them in first person. It feels simplistic. When I was a child, I was unable to put my mind into different personalities and understand them all at the same time. I could barely do it with one character. I think most of the time the ‘I’ in the story then was just me or a version of me.

I love to write stories because I want to reach out into the weird and wonderful, things I don’t see around me and likely never will. That’s why my main loves are fantasy, scifi and horror. I want to do unbelievable things in an unbelievable world. Not just once either. So for me, to write from many views gives me free rein in the worlds I create. I can be both hero and villain, conquerer and freedom fighter, creator and destroyer. I want to show as much of the world as I can as well. I created this damn thing, I want to show every view possible.


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