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Authors: 1st or 3rd Person--Select one!


This week I'm participating in the Author's Roundtable sponsored by the International Thriller Writers Association. The topic this week is selecting the right point of view for a thriller. In my latest project, Barbara Anne's Slider, I wrote pages using first person and pages using third. In the end I made a deliberate decision for my readers to literally feel the grief my POV character feels experiencing an active shooter crisis at a Florida high school. I wanted an intimate identification and affection for this character—Jacob Bernstein, Bernie, the baseball team’s catcher. My only choice, it seemed, was to use him as the first person narrator.


Still the question lingers for many writers: 1st or 3rd person POV. One master of the first person POV whom I greatly admire is RG Belsky, one of my fellow panelists this week. He's a self-described, "First person kind of guy." Which to me means that readers soon develop a close relationship with his POV character, Clare Carlson. Most of us on the panel believe that first person is great for noir stories and PI novels. Third person is usually better suited for thrillers. However, as Belsky says, "A good book is a good book. And great authors are great authors, no matter which viewpoint they use." I couldn't agree more. So many of us overthink these things. The best writers employ the techniques the best work with their unique style and story.

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