I naturally (and easily) write in first person; however am I cutting myself off from giving other characters "the mic" as it were? I'm experimenting with 3rd person and it's awkward at best. Are there any benefits to writing in 3rd?
I like, and have used, pretty much anything. I even like 2nd person, which pretty much nobody else likes besides me (and Lorrie Moore in Self-Help!). ;)
Most often I write in a close, limited 3rd, or 1st person. I think the difference for me is if the POV character and/or narrator has a strong voice of her own or not. Odd as it may sound, sometimes they just "speak to me" if you know what I mean, lol! If they're willing to speak, I'll let them - if not, I'll narrate for them in 3rd.
The only one I don't really like for myself is omniscient 3rd, with head-hopping between characters within the same scene. Though at the same time, John Irving does it ALL the time, and I love his work, so go figure. I'm not sure, if you write limited 3rd, but alternate POVs between chapters, is that still limited? Or does it become omniscient? My current novel-in-progress is limited 3rd, alternating between three POVs.
First person comes naturally to me. It's the POV I always gravitate towards. I just get this one character that sticks out more than the others, and he or she makes me want to delve further into their being. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed writing in the third person before, because I have, it's just not my preferred angle.
For shorts and novel writing, I almost always use in third person past tense. Occasionally, I'll use first person past tense, but that's pretty rare and I've found that only certain characters bring it out of me. But screenplays are required to be in present tense, so I've had to get used to that. It was an uncomfortable adjustment at first, but like anything else, you get used to it. Now there are times when I completely forget that I'm writing a short story and not a screenplay and I end up writing half of it in past tense and the other half in present!
Whatever you do, though, DON'T HEAD HOP! If you switch POV, that's fine, just make sure the entire chapter or scene or what have you is from one person's POV. That's a very irritating thing to read, when an author arbitrarily switches back and forth.
To just try to write from a different point of view forces me to think things through a little more, and it gives me a more well-rounded view of my character, whether I ever use what I wrote or not!
I must agree with the comments here; 1st person comes natural and is easiest, however the tricky part is, 1st person narratives *tends* to put the entire success or failure of that book (or should I say story) squarely in that main character's hands. Therefore, and I must agree here with the comment that spoke on experience playing a key role, but 1st person narratives must be powerful.
Most of my writing is in 3rd person...something about 1st person (in as far as writing) I don't enjoy, because I love the heck out of reading 1st person!!!
Two writers who use the First person well are Kathryn Stockett in The Help and Tracy Chevalier in The Lady in the Unicorn. Both have a few characters speaking in first person, alternating each character by chapter but continuing the events of the story.
I always write in 3rd person. I don't like to write in 1st person, I don't like to read in 1st person.
I think that the novel dictates the POV.
I wanted to write for years, but never got the Point of View right. After reading many detective novels during my first pregnancy (31 years ago!), I "got" my own voice and began writing the one novel I finished, Like Tears Over a Cheek.
When I began my MFA program, I realized I hadn't stretched enough and tried 3d person. My best scenes in my current novel are those! So that's where I'm partly stuck. I love those scenes (and they got good comments from workshops), but it seems like my first person protagonist is lackluster now.
Anyway, I've decided to have this novel be multiple points of view.
Naturally I write in first person, but I have done some third person, one of the big advantages to third person is being able to show the reader things that the main character may not experience. a scene between two (or more) other characters when the MC isn't present, etc.