Posted by: Jennifer | September 22, 2007

Why First Person Voice Bothers Me

Earlier this week, the author Jennifer Estep wrote a blog post about writing in the first person over at Romancing the Blog. Estep begins the post by writing that “People dislike first-person books.” She goes to discuss the fact that there seems to be a stigma attached to writing in the first person – that there seems to be a belief that it is an inferior way to write. This is important to Estep because she writes in the first person voice – and feels as if this is the way that she writes best.

Now, I can say that I almost universally hate books that are told in first person voice. The most notable exception is Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series which I absolutely adore. But, I don’t particularly believe there is anything wrong with writing in the first person. Is there something inherently bad about it? I can’t really see why there would be.

For me, I think one of the biggest reasons that I almost never finish a book that is told in the first person voice is because I find I can’t connect with the main character in a way that lets me connect with the story. It bothers me more when a character does something that I don’t like or embarasses me if I have to read about in terms of “I did” rather than “she did.” I am much harder on characters who are presented in first person than in third person. Does this make much sense? Probably not, but it is how I react to stories written in the first person.

Interestingly, I didn’t realize that this was something that bothers many people. I just thought it was a personal preference – one that I didn’t (and still don’t) fully understand, but just accepted. Personally, I don’t think less of authors who write in the first person. Of course, I generally don’t form much of an opinion about these authors because I don’t read their works. That is probably a shame in many cases. However, I doubt that my preference will change.


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