Wednesday, 14 November 2012

First or Third Person

So, my work in progress has hit a bit of a snag. Okay, so it hit this snag several months ago, when it was still just an abstract idea that was forming somewhere in a dusty corner of my mind, but I'm having to deal with it now.

I hate writing in first person. I don't even like reading it. You'll probably roll your eyes at me, but my problem is when a first person narrator describes something, be it themself, another character, a setting, anything. Well, not anything, just anything they'll have seen or experienced before the moment at which it is being described. See, to me, a first person narration is like an internal monologue, it's what the person is thinking as they do it. So, when a character looks in the mirror (which is a hideously clunky device and you shouldn't ever use it), why on earth would they tell the reader that they have long blonde hair and big blue eyes and porcelain skin? They might mention a spot that's appeared overnight, or that their roots are starting to show, but would they really comment on an aspect of their appearance that hasn't ever changed? I think not.

And that's an issue for me. I'm too busy suspending my disbelief as far as the narrator describing their every action to deal with them describing their own appearance and the world around them. It bothers me to read and I find it incredibly difficult to write. Of the seventeen novels I've finished, only two of them were written in the first person. So the natural choice for my work in progress was to just use third person, same as I always do, but then Tessa's voice started to bleed into my thoughts. I'd be jotting down a conversation I could imagine her having, and the tags would be in first person. Her thoughts would burst into the narrative.

I can't decide what to do. I could take the easy option and do what I always do, but I think maybe this story calls for first person narration and I'm just going to have to get over it.

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