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From which person’s perspective do you write a story?

When writing a story you have to choose from which person’s perspective you write your story. This can be done from the perspective of the first person (I), the second person (you), the third person (he / she), plural (we / they) or a combination of different people.

Usually, a story is told from the perspective of the first or third person.

However, there is no golden rule about which perspective you should use as it depends on what you want to achieve with your story. We’ll give you the advantages and disadvantages of using the different views so that you can choose the right one for your story.

First person (I)

The reader can identify more closely with the person involved.

The reader has a better understanding of the motivations of the main character.

You are viewing the story from only one point of view making it subjective; it is impossible to form an objective opinion about the main character.

The main character and thus the reader lacks certain knowledge necessary to understand the whole story.

If, for one reason or another, the reader doesn’t find the main character sympathetic, this will negatively affect the readers experience.

Second person (you)

It feels like the reader is part of the story

What if the reader does not agree with the action taken by the main character? As the reader is the main character, this person is not suitable for longer stories.

You can’t give the main character (the reader) specific features or character traits.

Third person (he / she)

You can distance yourself from the main character and approach the different characters more objectively.
You keep an eye on the story and have a wider perspective on the situation, making the third person ideal for complex storylines.

You can make the book more exciting by giving certain information away that the main character does not know yet.

The reader does not relate to the main character.

Plural persons (we / you / they)

Tells the story from a collective in which there is no room for differences in personality between the characters, the main characters become gray figures without any specifics.

Combination of different people

You can tell the story from different angles.

You can select the most appropriate person for each situation taking advantage of the corresponding benefits.

It can be confusing for the reader, make sure the reader understands from which person’s perspective the story is told.

On to the next step: Developing storylines and characters.

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