I've had this account for a while now but I haven't been on the site much so everything's still quite new to me.
I'm used to writing in third person limited, but so far all of the stories I've played have used the pronoun "you" to describe the protagonist. Obviously this makes sense, it is supposed to be the reader's experience after all. I'm just worried that if I try writing in third person, it may end up pulling the reader out of the story too much.
I guess my question is, do you think writing in third person limited can work? Or will there be too much of a disconnect between the reader and the protagonist? If you have any advice or know of any story games that use third person successfully, let me know.
Thanks for the help! I'll give it a read and see if I like how it works.
Sounds interesting, I'll make sure to check it out. I definitely get what you mean about getting caught in a trap, I guess third person just feels a bit more natural to me.
I'm confused. When you say there are no limitations, do you mean like having a omniscient narrator that just knows the thoughts and feelings of every character?
Right, that makes sense. If I was going to write in third person, I'd definitely keep it to the perspective of just one character. I don't want to try to do anything too complicated for now.
I think the main reason I want to write in third person is just because I like the protagonist to actually be a fully formed character with a history, instead of just being a blank slate that the reader can decide the identity of. So, if it's important to the story that a character is a coward, I find it easier to write that in third person, because telling the reader that they are a coward seems kinda forced.
Yeah sorry, I should've worded that better. I didn't mean it's a problem with second person writing, I just meant that I sometimes feel like I'm forcing character traits onto the reader while trying to write in second person.
Probably best for me to just read a lot more stories and get familiar with things before trying to write anything.
Ha ha, yep a little bit. I'm just going to try to read as many stories as I can and find out what I like most.
I don't think I've read many CYOAs where third person did work. Or first person for that matter. If I did, it must have been good, becaus things like PoV and dialogue tags are something that should melt away in proper immersive writing. I'm sure it could work, but ultimately if you've managed to reach the nebulous point where your writing is good enough to pull it off, it tends to blend into the background noise as most narrative does, and doesn't have that much more than a subconscious effect.
The thing that takes me out of first person is that it feels like someone else is telling me something they did, so when it comes time for a choice, a lot of work has to be done to pull that off without a hitch, because under most normal circumstances, a person telling you that story would be well aware of what happens in it. From a third person perspective, things do work a little better than first, but something feels strange about making decisions for other people, though I suppose that's just years of experience with the other voice messing with me. I could get used to other story PoVs.
But I feel like using "you" pronouns is nothing restrictive at all. If you truly made a fleshed out character, that would be readily apparent. They'll likely have their own name, they'll say things without your input, and also perform actions of their own accord, their choices will be limitted to solutions that they would come up with. It's readily apparent to anyone who isn't stupid that Suzy or numerous other Endmaster protagonists aren't supposed to be the reader, and seeing a narrative directly from the eyes of a character does not necessarily mean you're supposed to be them.
Consider most First-person games, which are more or less the equivalent of visual media addressing the character as "You" and centering what happens around "You" specifically. Sure, some protagonists aren't fleshed out and are made to be blank slates, but the Postal Dude is definitely his own person with his own nueroses and not supposed to be the player at all. You're just faced with the choices he would've had, and allowed to choose from the options he would've picked.
Of course the person "controlling" the character will imprint some part of themselves on that character, but that's true of any character with any degree of separation from the audience. Characters are supposed to be related to in some way, that's why we don't write about furniture. If seeing the world directly through someone's eyes and only having their sensory input to the story meant that they had to be blank slates and the reader themselves had to provide all the input, then we wouldn't have characters like Duke Nukem, Master Chief, the TF2 Mercernaries, and so on and whatnot. But those are only Action Game protagonists, an entirely different medium just to easily illustrate the point because my brain is small and tree-shaped and thinks only in images with long monologues.
In storygames, you have even less control of what the player character is doing, so the actions they perform independently of the audience should shine the most. That's a Storygame's strength. There are plenty of actual storygames on this site that prove your thesis wrong to begin with. I daresay most featured games on the site are not possessed of blank slate protagonists, but they are second-person.
Fair point. I guess details like what PoV you use are kinda trivial when compared to the quality of the writing as a whole. I'm just not very familiar with second person writing, and CYAOs in general, but that first person game analogy actually helped me understand a bit more so thanks for that.
As for the blank slate thing I said... I didn't mean to imply that second person writing inherently has blank slate protagonists. It's just that in my head, third person seems like the most fitting choice for a character that is fleshed out. But that's just me being inexperienced.
On the contrary, I feel like if I'm going to be fleshing out a character a lot, being directly in that character's head is one of the best ways to flesh them out. Of course, that's something generally limitted to protagonists, but second person allows a much more intimate view of a person because they're right there, not being observed from any distance, but actually the only vehicle you have with which to experience this world. It's almost perverted, really.