Monday, April 11, 2011

I (aka writing in the first person)

I don't know about you, but my writing seems to be stronger and contain more of an emotional impact when I write in the first person.

When I step into the skins of my characters, I think differently than I do when I write from the third person. My unconscious mind doesn't allow for me trying to fake it, either, by writing in first person with the intention of changing it to the third person later on. I've done that in the past and it doesn't work.

Now that I've realized I pretty much have to write my fiction from the first person, it leaves me with a couple of Issues:
  1. How do readers feel about having a book sectioned into distinct parts written from the first person POV of different characters?
  2. How do readers feel about having a book with alternating chapters: every other written in the first POV by the main character and the remaining chapters written int he third POV by other characters?
What's YOUR take on this Issue of I?


  1. I think if a book is well written, than shifting POV's doesn't bother me. Not sure it would work for many characters, but a few main ones, yes. Nice to know what makes our writing stronger. So nice to "meet" you on this a-z challenge.

  2. I think its something you have to get used to. The first time I read a story written like this it really through me, but then the more I got used to the style, the more I liked it.

    I'm now in the middle of writing my first story in present tense, first person, alternating POVs.

  3. 1. I don't think it works, makes it messy and hard to follow. If it's very clearly distinguished, e.g. the first half of the book is from one person's forst person pov and the second from another (as in John Fowles' The Collector) it might be okay, but back and forth would be maddening for me.

    2. It takes a bit of getting used to but can work fine. Harlen Coben uses it very effectively.

    Moody Writing

  4. Karen, Thanks for visiting. As far as sharing what makes me stronger, I prefer to focus on the positive while working on the, ahem, less positive.

    Angela, Good luck with your "first" first.

    Mooderino, I'm inclined to agree with you, but the jury's still out.