This trope applies when the story is told from "inside the head" of one person. If there is a narrative, it will be told as if that person were speaking to us. If there is a camera, it will be looking through that person's eyes. (A related perspective is third person limited, which likewise follows a single character's point of view, but views that character from outside.) It's most commonly used in literature as a narrative technique and in video games as a genre. It is noticeable and notable when it appears outside of those two areas, especially in movie and film where it's relatively rare to see anything directly from a character's perspective, rarer still for it to be maintained throughout. It was a major breakthrough in art when perspectives that no human could reasonably see started to be used in painting, such as a bird's eye view.
This, especially when accompanied by first person narration, can also unintentionally function as a Spoiler Opening to audiences, who subconsciously assume (with good reason) that regardless of what happens during the story (who dies, etc.) the viewpoint character must survive the events in order to be in a position to relate the tale to the audience later.
First Person stories have the advantage that it is very hard for the reader to not feel sympathetic towards the narrator.
While a character being very perceptive or making good guesses is considered acceptable, one of the common mistakes people make in writing First Person is giving the reader the feeling that either the narrator is always right, psychic, or is omnipotent in some way. To involve the reader even more, the narrator can think 'at' the reader, asking rhetorical questions and making Deadpan Snarker comments.
Successful First Person means the narrator is still often wrong about what is going on outside of their line of sight and knows nothing of the thoughts of others, and may even view past events in a different light. It can be hard to let the reader know that they're wrong - for example they're suspicious of somebody who is actually trustworthy.
First Person can be written in the immediate Present Tense, which means that the writer must additionally be careful that the narrator does not know the future, but has the advantage of the reader not knowing if the narrator will survive the story.
Sibling trope of Second-Person Narration.
- The All-Concealing "I"
- All First-Person Narrators Write Like Novelists
- Captain's Log
- Character Narrator
- First-Person Shooter
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator
- First-Person Smartass
- P.O.V. Cam
- Private Eye Monologue
- Romance manga and anime like to do this sometimes. The One Room series, Getsuyoubi no Tawawa, Training with Hinako and Makura no Danshi mostly have these in conjunction with the Iyashikei genre; they're used as a tool to make the audience feel more excited and happy in the focus characters' presence.
- Some Hentai such as Issho ni H Shiyo!, Betsu ni Anta no Tame ni Ookiku Natta ja Nai Dakara ne!! and Tsunpri effectively wrote the POV part in such a way to make you have sex with characters like Yui, Hina, Aoi, Haruka and so on and just completely disregarded the fourth wall altogether, as if a good look at the characters' voluptuous bodies with nicely-shaped breasts and nipples isn't enough. In other words, it is you that gets involved in the H-scenes.
- I Will Not Bow, based on The Sword Art Online, is told from the POV of Ren, the Original Character protagonist. Averted in the fic's sequels and rewrite, which are told in third-person.
- My Time Of Dying, a Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic (found here) is written from Scourge's POV, but is also strictly Present Tense. Scouge is consistently suicidal, depressed, and putting his own thoughts through the wringer. He also repeatedly snarks at the reader while mentally voicing his dislike of the more heroic characters like Sonic. The story is all the better for Scourge being written as a First-Person Smartass. He stays IC, keeping his bigoted opinions and suspecting the more noble characters of ulterior motives. Additionally his flawed reasoning is obvious to the reader, all keeping him from becoming a Draco in Leather Pants. He is a Villain Protagonist, but the story maintains a Sympathetic P.O.V..
- The 4th entry of Tales of the Undiscovered Swords introduces 2 OCs in the same story and is narrated in the form of diary entries of one of them.
- Lupine Tree is told from the perspective of Jack. Oddly, because he currently has fourteen bodies as of chapter 11,note he can see and narrate multiple simultaneous series of events and can see a situation from multiple angles even if the story itself sticks to strict first person.
- Child of the Storm and its 'verse are primarily third-person, but any scenes focusing on Harry Dresden honor the style of his canon, and are told from his POV.
- Mad World (Invader Zim) is told entirely from Dib's POV.
- Code Wings 3.0 is told in Cassidy's POV.
- Raisin' Some Hell is told from first-person and chapters alternate on who's perspective is focused on. For example, Chapters 1 and 3 are from Amity's perspective, Chapters 2 and 4 are from Luz's perspective, and Chapter 5 is from Eda's perspective.
- Lab Rat is told in Danny Phantom's point of view.
- Time Break Saga: While the stories in this series are primarily written in third-person, Tager's POV chapter in the second story, Silver Linings, is in first-person.
- This Bites! starts out as being solely from the POV of Self-Insert character Jeremiah Cross. At the end of the Alabasta Arc, however, when Cross starts the SBS broadcasts, the story starts showing other POVs to detail how Cross' presence and the Straw Hats' actions are affecting other characters around the world. 90% of the time, though, is still from Cross' POV.
- Barring the first chapter and the cuts to the present day, Patterns of the Past is told entirely from Olesya's point of view.
- Transcending Legends is told from Rainbow’s point of view.
- DC Fan Universe: Harley Quinn is written from the perspective of Harley herself, narrating her story to the reader.
- In the Doom movie there's a sequence shot in first person meant to reflect its First-Person Shooter roots.
- In Kick-Ass when Hit-Girl rescues Kick Ass and Big Daddy from Johnny G's thugs, it's done in a First-Person Shooter style.
- In the original Halloween movie the opening sequence in which a young Michael Myers spies on then murders his older sister is done from his point of view.
- Assassin's Creed (2016): During the rooftop chase in 1491 Granada, crossbow shots aiming at Aguilar and Maria are seen from the crossbowmen's and Ojeda's perspective as they shoot.
- Hardcore Henry is entirely done in this perspective.
- In Dark Passage the early scenes are shot from the protagonist's point of view, so his face never appears to the audience. After he undergoes plastic surgery the point of view changes and he is revealed to now look exactly like Humphrey Bogart.
- This is a recurring element of many Found Footage Films, in order to have some sort of immersive approach.
- Several segments from the french movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly are shown from a first person perspective.
- Isaac Asimov's "True Love": Joe, a computer program, is the one telling the story. Joe's limited senses justify the use of Featureless Plane of Disembodied Dialogue, since Joe cares more about a meeting of the minds than appearances or smells.
- The Dresden Files are fully told from the perspective of central protagonist Harry Dresden.
- From the The Further Adventures of Batman anthology, "Subway Jack", is written from several different perspectives, including having narration from inside Gordon’s head or Batman’s case files.
- My New Kitten: The story is told from the perspective of the owner of a new kitten.
- My Story: Each book in the series is told from the perspective of The Protagonist.
- Neogicia is told from Saly Asigar's point of view.
- The story of Piranesi is told by the eponymous character. As he's an Amnesiac Hero living in an Ontological Mystery, this verges on a Mind Screw for the reader, though Piranesi is open and precise about what he experiences, and everything makes sense in the end.
- The Sega-era Puyo Puyo light novels are told from Amitie's perspective.
- Sarah, Plain and Tall is told from Anna Witting's perspective.
- Richard Laymon's novel Savage is told from Trevor Bentley's point of view.
- The Vampire Academy books are told entirely through Rose Hathaway's perspective.
- Morgan Harding in ATLStoriesfromtheRetrofuture narrates the entire story.
- Race to the Sun is told by Nizhoni herself.
- Stone Cold has two narrators; Link (no, not that one), a homeless teenager trying to survive on the streets, and Shelter, a Shell-Shocked Veteran on personal mission to eradicate the homeless.
- Indexing: The story starts from Henry's point of view, with passages like:
There’s no dress code in my office, not even for the field teams, since many of us have reasons to avoid the more common suits and ties. I still liked to keep things formal.
- Most Star Wars Legends books are written in third person, but I, Jedi is the first (and only) book to be written entirely from the perspective of Corran Horn, as he trains at Luke's Jedi academy on Yavin IV.
- The Hunger Games is told entirely from the perspective of Katniss Everdeen.
- In later seasons NUMB3RS used gun barrel perspective as the FBI agents performed operations intercut with more regular footage.
- Dream High School is told from your character's point of view (and you are the main character). Unique in that Gamebooks are usually told with Second-Person Narration.
- "Nothing Like The Sun" is narrated by its main character, justifying why neither she nor anyone else has a name. Also, for reasons that are massive spoilers, the story requires first-person narration, and just would not work well in third person.