Reflections on I vs. She… POV
Before hitting the hay for the night, I thought I’d get this thought down in writing…
Parched is the first book I’ve ever written in the first person–actually the only piece of work I’ve finished writing in that particular POV. It has always been a struggle writing in the “I.” I think it had a lot do with me, writing “I” and the “I” not actually being “me.” It felt like readers would read the characters and see me and think I’m writing about myself. I didn’t want to be exposed. Why? Because readers are right in some regards to read the writer in the text. We pull parts of ourselves out and put those parts on the page. I personally pull from experience. I have index of every “interesting” conversation or experience, I’ve ever had with another person. I say “Interesting” because I have selective listening and intake of information, especially once I’ve determined I’ve heard it before and too many times at that. Most people who know me personally have heard me say at one time or another that human beings for the most part are like a box of dots. For one “quirky” person, who thinks they’re unique there are thousands, possibly millions out there just like them–and all motivated to be who they are by similar life experiences and reactions to those stimuli. I’ve learned that we’re human, and that we only respond to the world by that limitation. That’s helped me be very empathetic. Because I know, everything bad and everything good and everything in between could’ve easily happened to me. Because this is life and everybody has one.
But I must say, I really like that I’ve written Parched in the first person. I think it’s made the story that much stronger.
Now, here’s the thing… I’m plot heavy. We know my characters by their actions and reactions to the outer and inner world conflict I create–because without conflict there is no story–without outer and inner world conflict you’ll lack a strong story. And I’m not going to change that about my writing. However writing in this POV gave me a nice handle on my main character being that she reacts to certain information that my other characters may not know, which allows the reader to really get to know her as a person but not only that–they’ll like her and trust her.
The only limitation that gets me is that I as the writer hold a lot of information in my head that I can’t share with the reader. For instance, and without giving away the story, one of my main characters breaks another character’s heart. But I know why. She doesn’t. And I have to write it like she doesn’t know, which kills me… sigh… But I have to create characteristics in the character who breaks the other character’s heart that gives the audience an idea of what motivates his actions and reactions. It’s all story building baby… and this stuff looks easy but it’s not.
What I do like about first person in plotting is that it helps me be light handed but strong on building motivations. For instance, I have a character throughout the book that my main character gathers bits and pieces of information about–we see that character as my character does and though she’s not completely turned on by his behavior, when he “flips” she’s not surprised and neither is the reader. In the third person, I would have to show the plotting and planning of that manipulative character, which leads to this major turning point. Sorry for being vague–can’t give away the story 🙂. But I don’t know, I think I’ve done it right and have learned that when done right, the first person can be a strong plot tool. And I’m glad I reached into the toolbox and used it for Parched.
Put it like this–I can’t stop thinking about the story and Clarity’s journey. I want her to continue to live and resolve the issues, save the world, fall in love and live happily ever after. I can’t wait to meet two other characters that are pivotal but the readers don’t meet in book one. And there’s more that I wonder and can’t wait to resolve.
Maybe there’s no competition other than as I writer, if I choose one POV, make sure I write it well…
Going to bed now.