One Dimensional Writing-Using First Person Perspective
by: Scott Lindsay
In a first person narrative the reader is allowed to relate to the story one dimensionally. The story is presented to the reader from the viewpoint of a character in the story. The narrator might be the main character attempting to relate their own story. The story might also be told from the perspective of a bystander who may not be overtly involved in the storyline.
In the movie, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the story is narrated by a deeper male voice. It is only at the end that we discover the story was related by one of Willie Wonka’s Oompa Loompas. This is an example of first person storytelling.
This type of story telling is well used in cinema. Many early filmmakers used first person narrative to present their stories. The reason this type of format was used is primarily due to early filmmaking technology that required some help in the transition between scenes. Narration provided that transition. Film noir and other detective dramas relied heavily on first personal narratives to further their storylines.
Today’s authors are more adept at relating a story from other perspectives such as second or third person which will be dealt with in other articles.
A first person narrative allows you to understand the specific character of the narrator. You are likely to find yourself identifying with the storyteller in a variety of ways. You will either love or despise their mannerisms, but it is their character that provides the strongest connection to the storytelling process.
Because your narrator is finite they will never have all the details of the story they are unfolding for you. Sometimes this creates a unique perspective because the story can sometimes become more about the narrator (at least for awhile) then about the actual storyline. This can occasionally provide a comedic touch to the novel or at the very least some rabbit trails to follow just for the fun of it.
Interestingly some first person narratives are actually related from the perspective of a consortium. The premise is that a group of individuals are relating the story. This is identified by the use of ‘we’ or ‘us’ as part of the narration.