All right, so we were talking about third person and why it's preferable to first, especially when you use it. Again, I don't necessarily mean you you, but I do mean the general you that's out there, 95% of whom are all writing in first person. Seriously, there was a study. Okay, well, I bet there really was a study, but I'm not actually citing any study. I'm just saying... The actual study was actually with ewes, and that study found that all ewes, all ewes that write, that is, write in first person. As it turns out, ewes aren't very imaginative, and most of the stories they write, something like 99.8% of them, contain a wolf or a big bad wolf as the antagonist. The other .02% contain a bear. The most frequent line in manuscripts by ewes is "I was scared," followed closely by "I was afraid," and even more closely by "I was terrified." Some of them write in present tense, too, so it's "I am scared."
The literary history of sheep. It's a thing.
Why shouldn't you write in first person? You should definitely go back and read part one of this to find out the obvious reasons. The other reason is larger but more subtle. Not as noticeable in general but more pervasive. It's the thing I think that most often wrecks first person manuscripts. I call it the "God Complex."
This problem springs up because, as the author of whatever you're writing, you know everything. That knowledge, however, does not extend to your protagonist... or, at least, it shouldn't, and that's a really hard line to hold in your head. It's the thing that makes first person perspective writing, good first person perspective writing, more difficult than third person perspective writing.
One of the most common abuses of first person, and it is an abuse, is the assigning of feelings of other characters by the protagonist. For instance, "I could see that she was hurt." On the one hand, this seems like a perfectly natural thing to say, and sometimes it is, but there are a couple of main issues with it:
1. It's a shortcut that allows the author to skip showing us the actions of the character in question, and it's the actions that should show the readers the emotions, not just being told what they are.
2. The protagonist is always right about how other characters are feeling which makes for an overly empathetic protagonist. Knowing people and how well people generally relate to each other, I find it difficult to believe in a protagonist that always just knows how every other character is feeling in any given situation.
Another issue is that first person protagonists are always incredibly observant, like Sherlock Holmes levels of observant, and that's also just not realistic. People don't notice things, so, coupled with the empathic-ness just mentioned, it's like every first person story was written by the same superempathic, superobservant hero. And this also goes back to what I said in part one: If you want to give detailed descriptions, just write in third person. At least, that way, it's an outside description and makes sense in setting the scene (or whatever) for the reader.
This also applies to first person protagonists explaining how things work, especially in sci-fi novels. When your protagonist is explaining how devices work, something is wrong:
1. How many of you know beyond, say, a general idea how your television works? Or your car? Or the Internet? Basically, you turn on your thing (whatever that thing is) and you don't worry about it as long as it works. So, when your protagonist goes to use the teleportation device and explains how the thing works (probably because the author had a "cool" idea and just had to put in a description), it's not realistic.
2. Besides, even if you did know how it works, would you explain it to yourself (which is essentially what the character is doing) every time you went to use it? Or the first time each day or whatever? I mean, when you turn the TV on, do you muse to yourself how the remote control activates the television and what brings the picture to the screen? I don't think so.
Your first person protagonist needs to only pay attention to things that s/he would pay attention to, which is actually difficult to do, because there's always more information that the author wants to give other than what the character would be able to give, which leads us to the last thing:
Frequently, in first person stories, the protagonist knows about events s/he should have no knowledge of, both things going on concurrently with the character and historical events (back stories) that the character has no business knowing. It's entirely too easy for the author to make the assumption of his/her knowledge about what is going on the world equate to the protagonist's knowledge, essentially making the protagonist omniscient. And that's true of all the other things I mentioned. Now, really, unless your character is actually God (or a god) or Charles Xavier or someone like that, your character just shouldn't know things.
And it's difficult as a writer to confine yourself that way.
Which is why you should be writing in third person, because, then, you can let us know whatever you want us to know. Even how your nifty teleportation device works.
Or the opposite happens and your character doesn't know basic things about, say, his or her own culture and has to have them explained to her by some other character. For me, that's even more annoying than the character explaining things to herself. For instance, I was reading something recently and, basically, some other character mentioned (the equivalent of) college and the character was, like, "huh? What's college?" Seriously? If your character is that ignorant of his own society, you might want to rethink your choice of protagonist.
All of that to say that I know first person seems like such an easy choice to write in. It's natural and all of that, but it's also way easier to mess up. It's really all about discipline and control, and you ought to learn that stuff by writing in third person where it's not so easy to see when you stray from what you were trying to do.