Writing In First Person
Love it or hate it you’ve probably got an opinion on first person point of view. As an author, I do too.
With first person I feel that I can give you, the reader, an in-depth view into the main character of my work. It can be argued that the same effect can be achieved with a limited 3rd, but I just don’t feel like it has the same intimacy, and since I’m writing a “pro first person” blog post, we’ll just run with that for today.
With first person I feel that you are right there, inside the mind of the character. You see what they see, you feel what they feel first hand, without the added narrative voice clogging things up. You are the character instead of being told what the character is doing.
Example from Soulstone
My eyes burned as if I had looked directly into sunlight, but no warmth hit my skin. In an instant, my vision failed. Everything became white, and for a brief moment there was complete and utter silence. Not even the chirp of a cricket could be heard. That moment was shattered by a loud explosion and the thunder of frantic footsteps heading my way.
In this example, in first person, you experience everything the character is experiencing. Your eyes are burning with my character. You’ve gone blind and must now experience things with your other senses.
The down side to this perspective is that it is flooded with too many “I” statements. “I did this, I did that.” That’s one of the main reasons people get annoyed with this perspective. It can become too reflective and those times where a character is “I-ing” too much become a bit stagnant.
The trick to working with first person and not hitting that stale reflection is to pepper it in among action and interaction.
Example from Soulstone
I pounced, jumping onto his back, tackling him to the ground. The heel of the rifle in his hands came back and smacked me in the chin, snapping my jaw closed. My eyes watered with pain, but I held on tight to his back. He squirmed and tried to roll and knock me off, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I clung to him tighter, like a rodeo cowboy riding his bucking bronco, while I looked for a good place to bite down.
I bent down, to the crook of his neck, finding my target. My teeth made contact, sinking like a knife through hot butter into the soft skin of the soldier’s neck. His adrenaline-fueled blood gushed into my mouth. He moaned in pain but quickly went limp under me.
Here, I gave a lot of those “I” sentences, but they are intermingled with the action of taking down a soldier and drinking his blood. There is cause and effect, the rifle, the struggle, and finally, the biting down into his soft flesh. All of this is wrapped in with those pesky “I’s.” The trick is to blend them in well enough to make them not feel annoying while giving that extremely personal experience that I feel only first person does.
If I were to take these from a third person perspective, instead of enjoying the soldiers adrenaline-fueled blood with the character, you would only hear about her enjoyment. And that’s why I chose this perspective for this particular story. (I have other works written in third person)nNot that I want you all to enjoy blood, unless you happen to be a vampire. What I want is for you to get close with my main character. It’s her story and if you read it long enough, yours too.
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to check out my latest release you can find it online at the following sites.
Book 4 in the Immortalis Series
Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soulstone-katie-salidas/1109708735?ean=9780985127787&itm=1&usri=soulstone
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Soulstone-Katie-Salidas/dp/0985127783/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1332655040&sr=8-12
Kindle - http://www.amazon.com/Soulstone-Immortalis-Vampire-Series-ebook/dp/B007OZDJCU/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332821870&sr=1-10
It’s a desperate time for rookie vampire Alyssa, and her sanity is hanging by a slender thread. Her clan is still reeling from the monumental battle with Aniketos; a battle that claimed the body of Lysander, her sire and lover, and trapped his spirit in a mysterious crystal. A Soulstone.
Unfortunately, no amount of magic has been able to release Lysander’s spirit, and the stone is starting to fade. Weeks of effort have proved futile. Her clan, the Peregrinus, have all but given up hope. Only Alyssa still believes her lover can be released. In despair, Alyssa begs the help of the local witch coven, and unwittingly exposes the supernaturals of Boston to unwanted attention from the Acta Sanctorum.
The Saints converge on the city and begin their cleansing crusade to rid the world of all things “Unnatural.” In the middle of an all-out war, but no closer to a solution to the dying stone, Alyssa is left with an unenviable choice: save her mate, or save her clan.