First Person POV – a new discipline

I’m five chapters in to the first in a brand new scifi series and I’ve decided to write this in first person POV. When I wrote The Lilean Chronicles, I wrote in third person POV, which is my natural preferred style as it allows for the story to be somehow, fuller. I don’t remember why I had the brilliant idea of doing first person, but I do remember reading somewhere that ‘they’ say that first person POV is more difficult to do and that if you can write a good story this way, people are more likely to respect your work. I’m always up for a new challenge so I thought I’d give it a go, at least for a couple of chapters and see how it goes.

Well I’m five chapters in and it seems to be going well, although the book is building more slowly than The Lilean Chronicles did. I have to be more disciplined with myself and I have to keep reminding myself that my main character, Sam, doesn’t know everything. There have been a couple of times I’ve had to go back and re word something after remembering that he wouldn’t know this or that. I’m also finding that I’m going far deeper into his own thought processes than I did with The Lilean Chronicles characters and there is far more about what is going on inside his mind. This is a good thing, I feel, as it allows the reader to get to know Sam on a deeper level and really identify with him. I’m trying to resist the urge to fill it up with his many and varied memories as I don’t want the book to be a series of flashbacks.

Third person POV will always be my preferred way of writing. I find my writing flows easier and the book grows quicker and I just find it more natural to have an omnipresent view. Another weird thing, I’m finding that it doesn’t seem entirely natural to have too much dialogue in this new book as I had in third person POV. I don’t know if this is normal for first person or not but that is how it is for me at the moment. I’m pretty convinced that this book won’t be as long as the third person POV books are either but again I don’t know whether this is normal or just my experience.

All in all it’s an interesting experience and good discipline writing in first person POV. I love learning something new, especially when it enables me to create something new and widen my skill base as an author.

One comment

  1. Ah, First Person POV. Some of my favorite books are in first-person. Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series sticks out in my mind most. The problem I have when I consider first-person is, as you point out, you are limited to only what your protagonist experiences. You can’t cut to the bad guy (unless you break from form and do a scene in third person or even switch to a different first-person) and this can be limiting. You CAN, however, have something happen “offscreen” and then when the protagonist finds out about it, your readers can be just as surprised as he/she is. Challenging, to say the least and definitely a departure from how I’m used to writing. I think my first real try of it will be a short story. I look forward to reading more of your experiences.

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