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Use of first person?

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Re: Use of first person?

Postby missionsgirl » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:16 am

I'm writing a short story right now, and it's written entirely in first person. It seems to be working ok for the most part. One big challenge I've had has been breaking up some of it with enough action to keep it from getting too boring. (That whole showing vs. telling thing.) I think my biggest struggle so far in writing this has been the dialogue, not the viewpoint. But I digress... :wink:
Remember that the living God is everything. Not success, not victory, but God. Not winning, not losing, but God. A.W. Tozer

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Re: Use of first person?

Postby TheophilusM » Wed May 27, 2015 2:20 am

Reviving this post from the catacombs...

I love first person, but in my opinion first person really only works with a protagonist who has an intriguing personality, and the plot really turns on this particular character alone. One of the best uses of the first person, in my opinion, is the Dresden Files series by Jim Bucher. I have met Jim on several occasions. Harry Dresden is basically Jim, if he always had hours to think up his wittiest comments, set in a sort of fantasy world where wizards are real. It works only because the author really knows his protagonist's personality, because it is his own. Few authors can pull off more than one fist person narrative successfully simply because so much hinges on a single character's personality. Stephenie Meyer has tried it... The Twilight series, and her follow up The Host, are written in the first person. She does it well, but the personalities of her protagonists (Bella and Wanda) are remarkably similar, only disguised by the fact that they are in radically different fantasy worlds (one, a human in love with a vampire; the other an alien parasite indwelling a human host).

My advice... Figure out what kind of story you are telling. If what gets you excited about the story is the character itself, and what happens to the character, his or her relationships, his growth and development, etc... Then first person can be very powerful. If, however, what excited you is the world you created for the story, or a larger world situation, etc., use third person. A quick test... You have your story idea. A friend says, "what is your story about?" If you instinctively start saying ANYTHING other than what pertains to one character's point of view... Go third person. If, however, you find yourself telling the story I terms of one person's experience... Consider first person.
"For God has made our hearts and spirits happy through His ideal Son, whom He has delivered up that we might be redeemed from sin, death, and the devil. He who believes this sincerely and earnestly cannot help but be happy; he must cheerfully sing and talk about this, that others might hear it and come to Christ. If any would not sing and talk of what Christ has wrought for us, he shows thereby that he does not really believe." - Martin Luther (WA 35, 476f)


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