Comparison Between First Person and Third Person Limited POV (With Excerpt from Retreat)

Possible Retreat Cover Blurry Background With WordsFirst of all, before I begin, I must warn all of you, that I am not an expert! These are my opinions and best understanding of these principles at the present time.

If you want to get a full explanation of POV’s, head over to Mr. Davis’ blog, The Author’s Chair. He’s the one who refined what I think about POV’s.

Of course, every author has a different style and it is the reader that decides how well it works.

Alright, with all of that out of the way, I think it’s time for some examples.

This is Third Person Limited (or at least how I understand it) 😉

Ben trudged through Dubuque. Wind whipped around his ears. It carried the scent of fall and warned of the approach of winter.

Pain shot up his leg. Ben grimaced. It had been months since Wilson’s Creek. It was already October, but the pain lingered. At least it was getting better.

He stopped and gazed up at a white church. Multi-colored leaves whisked by on a breeze. A small stairway, with a railing on one side, led up to a narrow door. Ben sighed. It hadn’t changed a bit, except for the piece of paper on the door. Ben squinted. The words were unreadable at this distance.

After placing a steadying hand on the railing, Ben walked up the stairs. He reached the top and gazed at the words once again. Now they were clear.

Here is a the same part of the story, but in First Person.

I trudged through Dubuque. Wind whipped around my ears. It carried the scent of fall and warned of the approach of winter.

Pain shot up my leg. I grimaced. It had been months since Wilson’s Creek. It was already October, but the pain lingered. At least it was getting better. 

I stopped and gazed up at a white church. Multi-colored leaves whisked by on the breeze. A small stairway, with a railing on one side, led up to a narrow door. I sighed. It hadn’t changed a bit, except for the piece of paper on the door. I squinted. The words were unreadable at this distance. 

After placing a steadying hand on the railing, I walked up the stairs. I reached the top and gazed at the words once again. Now they were clear.

Basically, I just changed the nouns and pronouns to “I” and “my”. First Person allows for a more in-depth examination of a single character.

Also, notice the thoughts. It had been months since Wilson’s Creek. It was already October, but the pain lingered. At least it was getting better. It hadn’t changed a bit, except for a piece of paper on the door. This allows for the reader to get inside the character’s head, as well as allows you, the author to establish the back story.

This excerpt is from my book Retreat, hopefully coming out next summer. Just so you know, this is not the final version, it’ll be edited at least one more time (Hopefully more) .

Please post any comments if you agree, disagree, or think I got all of this plain wrong! 🙂 Thanks for reading. Again, please check out Mr. Davis’ blog. Have a great Monday!

Writing for His glory!

David B. Hunter

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