My blog is called THE MYSTERY BOOKSHELF at and I've found that most of the books that I recommend are in the first-person. I don't know why, but I feel that the third-person is more clunky. With first-person narratives, I’m part of the story more.

Because of this, I also have to admit that I tend to read books written by male authors than female authors. For some reason, female writers seem to use the third person more. It has nothing to do with sexism. I’ve read Minette Walters, Deborah Crombie, Julie Spencer-Fleming, Laura Lippman, Charles Todd, Elizabeth George, and a host of others. However, only a few female authors seem comfortable with the first person, and these tend to be my favorites: S.J. Rozan, Kris Nelscott, and Laurie R. King.

Do you have a preferences for the first-person or third-person?

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Interesting discusson!
I can see with the first person you feel you're more involved. You're being zipped along from page one with the chief protagonist. perfectly reasonable.
But I write in the third. I tried to do it in the first but found it far too limiting for the purposes of the story I wished to write.
As a personal preference, I very rarely read novels written in the first person. Just don't like them.
I prefer getting (as a reader and a writer) into the heads of the characters.
Where a killer is involved for instance, I want to feel his world through him, but I also want to feel and understand the worlds of his victims as well as those who seek to bring him to justice too.
I suppose it's just a matter of preference.
As for most women writers, I don't happen to agree at all that most write in the third person. But that's just my opinion of course.
btw Zoe Sharp (to name one) female author writes in the first person.
Hmm, I much prefer Elizabeth George to S.J.Rozan. I suspect there's something else going on here: identifying with the protagonist. I could understand if a male had more problems identifying with a female protagonist, particularly one who is a liberated female who makes her point via showing up males for the unreliable, arrogant, violent creatures she thinks they are. Actually, that happened to me with Laurie King once.

I don't much care if a novel is third or first. More depends on the voice for first, so it's trickier in that sense. On the other hand, as has been said, you gain a certain immediacy.

As a writer, I like limited third, especially when switching POV. But who knows. The first person option sounds interesting.
Third person all the way. As a reader and writer, I find first-person too limited. I’m with Carole in this, the stories I would like to write require more than one point of view. In effect gagging my characters wouldn’t do them justice.

While I prefer third-person, I will read first-person. It has to be a book that really catches my eye, though, because I automatically put first-persons back on the shelf. This makes browsing bookstores very frustrating. I love to read thrillers and mysteries, but they are so overrun with first-person that I haven’t read one in a long time.
so agree and know what you mean!
And it's so true about certain detective fiction and the like.
although--hypocrite moment coming up! I do enjoy Raymond Chandler's first person and Jame M. Cain too--just golden age stuff because it goes with the style I think.
you know, "I was in my office when she walked in..."
But first person in very contemporary novels--
no. It just doesn't work for me at all!
And as you said the other characters are gagged.
the author's told them: "shut up, I'm telling this story!"
I like both equally. As long as the voice interests me it really doesn't matter. And sometimes I don't even notice :o) And there are some great first person novels written by women - Christa Faust, Barbara Seranella, Megan Abbott...
I'll read both, but I guess I do tend to prefer first person. I also can write both, but truly prefer first person in writing.
I think that's great that you can write first!
I couldn't. but maybe with a different storyline...!
First person can be pretty intense and personal. I wonder sometimes if you have to be pretty comfortable with yourself to do it well, because you do end up revealing things about yourself that you don't realize while you're writing.
Surely that only happens if you cast yourself as your protagonist.?
You would be surprised. Everything we write has some of ourselves in it, even if we try to keep it out. Our own worldviews do color what we write to some degree.

A very tight first person narrative involves a lot of interior thought and feeling. Everything is filtered through that person's senses. If you can't picture yourself there, feeling the wind on your skin, or that lurch of disbelief when the betrayal is revealed, it's difficult to write it in a really convincing way. It doesn't at all have to be Mary Sue-ish, casting yourself as your protagonist. But because you're the writer, and your experiences color what you write, a tight first person is going to have more of you in it than you might imagine.

A less tight first person allows you more leeway.
Actually even a first person narrative should be written objectively enough to create a character unlike oneself. You could perhaps try to put yourself in a man's shoes? :)
Or a very old lady's? Or portray someone who is deeply flawed and holds opinions you deplore.
Well, I could write from the pov of someone whose opinions I deplore, but I don't really want to, which would make it very difficult to sustain a believable first person narrative from that character's pov.

I actually do write male povs in third person, as well as female. For the in-tight first person, I prefer female. I have three different women I write, each with her own personality and background. Even so, after twenty years or more of writing characters in first person, I have learned to recognize when my own core values pop up in them.

Shrug. My series character would do things that I wouldn't. But I don't think I'd be getting comments about how real she comes across as if I couldn't put myself in her position and then describe her thought and feelings on paper.


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