offers professional writing lesson videos for all levels of writers!

Sign up or log in to Magoosh Professional Writing.

First Person Writing

First person writing is all about “I.”

First person writing is meant to bring readers into the character’s world. But more specifically, it brings the reader into the character’s head as well. This is why it is used so often in autobiographies. It brings the reader into the character’s story by utilizing all of the character’s physical senses and emotions to tell the story.

Pronouns in First Person Writing

In order to bring the reader into your world, you will need to stick with personal pronouns. Your heavy hitters are going to be “I” and “We.”

    I heard a car backfire so I dove for cover.

You see how the use of “I” brings the reader into the writer’s singular personal experience? The rest of the sentence lets the reader know what happened from the writer’s own experience – and that the writer should probably find a better neighborhood to live in.

    We saw an alligator move across the surface of the water.

Now this second sentence still shows a scene from a first person perspective, but it becomes a collective personal experience by using the pronoun “we.”

Keep in mind that in the examples above, there is no narrator. That is, there is no omniscient being who is psychologically well-balanced and impartial – who can comment on the behavior of the character whose point of view you are writing from. The whole piece is seen from the main character’s perspective, and their perspective alone.

Examples of First Person Writing

Autobiographies

The use of first person writing is most definitely found in autobiographies. When reading an autobiography, you want to see everything from the writer’s point of view. You want to know how they lived, what they saw, and what they were thinking. It’s the reason you bought the book in the first place.

Creative Writing

However, first person writing can also be used effectively in stories. Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne” is a perfect example of a novel written in the first person. But first person writing can be somewhat daunting if you are not an actor at heart, or simply find it difficult to truly get into someone else’s head.

It’s tougher to write stories using first person because all of the information has to come from the character’s senses, and from their emotional and psychological perspectives. You are literally stuck in that character’s head.

Music and Poetry

First person writing is also a very powerful tool in music and poetry. It allows the person receiving the message to feel things from the writer’s perspective – to know how he or she feels about something. It’s a great way to bring intimacy between the artist and the receiver of the message.

Business Writing

And let’s not forget about business. First person writing is essential for emails and other business correspondence – and it’s usually a combination of first and second person writing in these forms of communication.

The point is, the first person writing can make the receiver of the message feel much closer to the writer than when using the second person narrative or when writing in third person. Stay tuned for future blog posts on writing in second and third person!

P.S. Become a better writer. Find out more here.

No comments yet.


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply