I think Rishona asked this question, but I can't remember for sure. I've been getting a number of questions lately.
Anyway, here goes . . . Mrs. Marlow, what is the difference between writing in first person, second person, and third person?
"Person" is how your main character tells the story.
1. "First" person is "I." For example, all of the stories I write here on the blog as "Ranch Stories" are written in first person. I pretend I am Andi, and I write as if she were telling the story: "I've always wanted to go on a cattle drive." First person stories are fun, but they are very limiting. For sure, if I use "I," I can never, ever mention what anybody is doing that I can't see or hear. First person is intimate. It makes you feel like you are that person. The reader can really get inside the character's head when you write in first person. A first person character can talk to herself in the narrative too. I originally wrote Dangerous Decision in first person, and I liked it. But it is not the usual way to write fiction for that age group, so I changed it to . . .
2. "Third" person. All of the Circle C Adventures and Goldtown books are written in third person. So are most of the stories we read, like Little House, Anne of Green Gables, LOTR, and Narnia, to name a few. It is the most common way to write a story. When I write, I say "Andi" instead of "I." Third person is not as personal as first person, but it is very easy to write. You can still get inside the character's head by using italics, and you can narrate what the character is feeling too. Please, however, don't "head hop." This means switching from one character's thoughts and feelings to another character's in the same scene. That is a big NO-NO. For example:
Andi sighed. What a long day this is. I wonder when Cory will be able to race.
Cory saw Andi sigh. I'm sure I will be finished working soon, and then we can ride, he thought.
Do not do this! Do not hop from one character's head to the other! The story can be told from only one person's point of view at a time. Create a scene break or a new chapter before switching character's on readers.
Note: Books like Narnia and LOTR do switch points of view all the time. It is the "old" way of writing, something called "omniscient" point of view, where the reader is looking down on the entire story at once and knows what every character is thinking. Like watching a DVD. There is nothing really wrong with it, but it is not as personal. Nowadays, publishers do not look for those kinds of stories much.
3. "Second" person. No modern fiction author really uses second person. A few old-fashioned authors from the 1800s sometimes stuck it into their narratives, but it has a tendency to snatch a reader from the story. This is the "Dear Reader" approach, where the author "talks" to the reader:
"Now, you would think that Alice would have learned her lesson by now. However, you will soon see that she did not."
Second person is "you," and you can easily see how the author could start sounding preachy and tell the reader what he/she should be learning from the story. Try to avoid second person in a fiction story. Save the "you" form to give somebody instructions on how to make bread or something. In a story, it is much better to let the reader figure things out through the action and characterizations in the story. Don't preach to your readers!