IWSG Follow-up: Why my First-person Narrative has to be deleted.


Okay, well, since so many people asked about it, I’m going to do as Elizabeth suggested and devote a short blog post to talking about first-person narrative in “Won’t somebody think of the Children” and why I’m leaning towards rewriting the entire book in third person point of view.

I’m a big fan of first person point of view. On the other hand, I’m starting to realize that at times my reliance on that writing style doesn’t really serve the story that I’m telling, and that’s the basic decision that I’ve come to with Tom Sandinez serving as narrator of his book. It’s a call that’s more intuitive than deductive at this point, but the most obvious reasons have to do with the next point I made last post, that I need to do more showing as opposed to telling.

If I let Tom tell the story in first person, that’s exactly what he does a lot of the time. He tells the reader what happened yesterday or last week, and he skips over some of the best parts. Now, if I really wanted to, I could probably show a lot of what I need to show and still stick with Tom as the first-person narrator. But I’m still not convinced that that would be the best way to write this story, and I’d be fighting Tom’s inclination to gossip and summarize the whole time. So, I want to try switching things up – telling most of the story from close to his head, (and maybe jumping away to some of the other major characters for a scene when I need to,) but not letting his voice take over.

So, that seems to cover it. I hope that what I typed makes sense, and feel free to post more questions in the comments if you’re so inclined.

And Alex – killing off a favorite character with no warning because you’re not sure how else to end a book is indeed cruel. It also fits in with a great and glorious Nanowrimo tradition. πŸ˜‰

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6 Responses to IWSG Follow-up: Why my First-person Narrative has to be deleted.

  1. Trisha says:

    I’ve never really figured out why some stories work better in first person, and others don’t seem to. But you have a point here about characters’ voices/personalities possibly better suiting a certain POV. Interesting!

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  2. Very interesting indeed. I guess it’s hard to agree or disagree without having read your work, but I’m a 1st person POV junkee so my advice is probably always going to be a little biased!

    My one word of caution with what you’ve said above about jumping to someone else’s perspective occasionally: don’t start doing this too late otherwise it will jolt the reader.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

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  3. Ah, makes sense. Thanks for following up on it. πŸ™‚

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  4. Debra S says:

    It’s good to try something different. I like both first person & third person. My current WIP is third person but when I need to dig deep and get “inside” my character’s head I do write the scene in first person. Then I switch it to third person. Best of luck with your change-up on this project.

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  5. ali cross says:

    I think this totally makes sense and I applaud you for being able to come to this decision. It’s easy to stick with our crutches, but it takes guts to do what’s best for the story. Sound reasoning, man!

    BTW, I’m from London, Ontario (live in the states now), but my mom and dad both grew up in the Hamilton area. πŸ™‚ Just an interesting little small-world bit!

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  6. Wow. That’s going to be a lot of work! It makes sense though. One of the fun things about 1st person POV is that you can get away with bending the “show don’t tell” rule. One of the dangers of 1st person POV is that you can get away with bending the “show don’t tell” rule. Thanks for the follow-up post!

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