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 characters 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 birds 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.
- I Will Not Bow, based on The Sword Art Online, is told from the POV of Ren, the OC 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..
- 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 is told entirely from Dib's POV.
- 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.
- From the The Further Adventures of Batman anthology, "Subway Jack", is written from several different perspectives, including having narration from inside Gordons head or Batmans case files.
- The Dresden Files are fully told from the perspective of central protagonist Harry Dresden.
- My New Kitten: The story is told from the perspective of the owner of a new kitten.
- Richard Laymon's novel Savage is told from Trevor Bentley's point of view.
- Neogicia is told from Saly Asigar's point of view.
- The Vampire Academy books are told entirely through Rose Hathaway's perspective.
- In later seasons NUMB3RS used gun barrel perspective as the FBI agents performed operations intercut with more regular footage.