Utne Blogs > Literature

The Slow Death of the Third Person

by Emily Schnobrich 

Tags: Great Writing, third person, first person, narrative, Broken Pencil,

Skull and BooksRight now I’m killing the third person. With this very blog post, I am contributing to the sneaky, first-person narrative trend that currently runs our written world (and by reading this, so are you). According to Nathaniel G. Moore in Broken Pencil, we’ve all been too busy talking about ourselves to notice the third person slipping beneath the pages of time.

Moore investigates the opinions of several literary aces and provides a multi-faceted look at why we're  so obsessed with “I” these days. Here are a few of their thoughts:

Writers don’t seem to want the excess baggage of a big, baggy, third person story or novel. The standard compulsions of the third person author seem outdated, less cheeky and immediate, than the prattle of a typical first person present narrator. —Spencer Gordon

Lately I have been seduced by the first-person siren song, because for some reason this point of view lets me write meaner people, which is exciting since I usually go for characters on the nicer end of the spectrum. —Jessica Westhead

When people write about what they know, they install themselves in the story with devastating first person results. It comes down to laziness. Pure and utter laziness. —Gradey Alexander

Source: Broken Pencil 

Image by My Buffo, licensed under Creative Commons