Writing Tips #5(First Person/ Second Person/ Third Person Narrative)

“Welcome again, my people.” He sang his cliché intro with full enthusiasm, hoping his words would lighten up the day of his readers. “This is technically the first new write-up on the website,” There he goes again with his new website. “So Kudos and let’s begin!”


It’s better if the third person shuts up, now! I’m sorry for the delay, it won’t be happening anymore. Yep, even you can’t trust that. Never mind him.

As we’ve been discussing lately about the basic skills of writing a story, today we’ll move forward to the way one colors the canvas of their story. A quick look on our progress:

#1 – Word Count and Story Length
#2 – Choosing the genre/ Conceptualizing the story
#3 – Sequencing the Plot
#4 – Character Development
#5 – First Person/ Second Person/ Third Person Narrative
#6 – The Power of Foreshadowing


Most commonly known types of narration are:

  1. First Person Narrative
  2. Second Person Narrative
  3. Third Person Narrative

There’s nothing new to add in them, other than some insights to each type. An important question would be discussed in the latter part of the post.

First Person Narrative

In a first person narrative, the narrator uses the pronoun “I”. He/She is a character in the story, although their involvement in the story may be a subject of question. Thus, it is divided into further types:

Major/Minor Character

A first person narrator who is a part of the active story helps the reader relate to it from that particular character’s point of view.

Major Character:

The kind of narrative where the main protagonist or the antagonist narrates the story, makes the reader well acquainted with the character’s personality, hence he/she becomes a key element of the story. If you opt to choose this kind of narrative, you’ll have to forget your instincts as a person and dive into the mind of the character since it is them, who’s speaking and not you.

Example- Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan.
Verdict – Use only if your story revolves around a specific set of characters and not the remaining world.

Minor Character:

This character can stand anywhere in the hierarchy from the major character’s best friend to a janitor who’s overlooking the story taking place in an office or anywhere else where he/she works. The character may not be of any importance in the active story, but they become important for the reader since they are the eyes of the reader. The one thing you need to remember when using this narrative is that you should try to mix judgement of the character while narrating, just to add a pinch of originality to it.

Example- Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Verdict – Use when you want to make the reader relate to the story, deeply. And not prioritize the character narrating it.

Second Person Narrative

The thing about second person narratives is that it divulges the reader so much into it, that it technically seems as if the reader is being dragged. (A personal observation.) This happens mostly because it uses the word “You” forcing the reader to be a participant of the story and doing things they might not wish to. So, honestly I have no unbiased view on this type. My apologies.

Third Person Narrative

When it comes to showing off your skills as a narrator, there’s no better option than a third person narrative. Here, the writer is the person narrating the story which makes it an opportunity to be your best self. It is, naturally, divided into two parts as well.

Character Oriented

In this narrative the narrator(you) knows only as much the characters of the story have discovered and can portray only their thoughts and feelings. To the maximum extent, they can describe scenarios and settings such as day and night.

Example- Harry Potter by J.K Rowling.
Verdict – An optimized way to keep the reader well updated with the characters and flaunting your skills as a writer/narrator.

World Oriented

These narrators can be aptly termed as Gods. They know everything that is happening in a story and will let the reader know it. The best part about this narrative, is that since the reader knows everything prior to the characters his anticipation to know their reaction increases.

Example- Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
Verdict – An optimized way to keep the reader well updated with the characters and flaunting your skills as a writer/narrator.

Greatest Question: In what tense does the story take place?

Another question we all come across is “What should be the tense of the story?”, to be honest it depends on how we Sequence the Plot

That’s it for today, writers! I’m glad you invested your time in reading this article. If it turns out helpful, then be sure to comeback next week to learn the power of foreshadowing.


© The Honest Fabler

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