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Writing Books/3rd person to 1st person transition


I have written a novel about a couple who fell in love at a young age, were seperated, and brought back together through fate.

The first chapter is in 3rd person, and tells about a woman's bad luck because of her choices.  The rest of the book is written in 1st person.  How do I make the transition? Do I title the first chapter only and number the rest of them?  I want the reader to be able to understand right off that the 1st chapter is imperative to the rest of the book, however I don't want to confuse them by switching. Any help would be appreciated.

Hello Melisa:

Unless there is some compelling reason to write the first chapter in third person and the rest in first, don't do it, for all you will accomplish will be to confuse, mystify and discourage readers. Point of view is a very important aspect of the novel and it should be considered carefully before making a choice. Unless you are an accomplished writer with several books in your favor, your best bet is to pick one POV and stick to it.

That said, if you are adamant about this, if it seems imperative to you, I would set the first chapter off in some way, and call the second chapter the first. What is now your first chapter could be a prologue, or set in italics without any designation ahead of the first chapter.

If this is your first novel and you hope to get it published somewhere, don't handicap yourself going in. Time enough later to experiment.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 800 questions.

And good luck with your writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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