Things I Struggle With and How I’m Fixing Them
I have a first person present narrator.
This is ironic, because I used to hate first person AND present tense. Then I read some really awesome books where the character voice snapped me up like an on-sale-snack. It wasn’t the POV or tense that I disliked in books, it was getting put into a story where I didn’t connect with the speaker. I began writing THE NAMELESS QUEEN, and it just flowed in first person. HOWEVER. It took me a while to get the hang of it.
The risk of a first person narrator is that you delve into the story (and into that character’s mind) before you as the author even have a perfect sense of who they are. If you’re like me, it won’t be until the guts of the story are on display that your character really comes into their own.
Make sure the first chapter dive into the POV is smooth and fulfilling.
If we don’t get the sense that this story needs to be in first person or that we’re benefiting from it in some way, then what was the point?
One of the methods (as explained by my lovely mentor, Laura Salters) to really dig into that first person POV is to make sure the reader has access to their thoughts.
You need to find a balance between internal monologue and external conflict. No one likes reading a three-page monologue on how your character feels about their own backstory. At the same time, no one likes to be so consumed by action that your MC is just along for the ride.
A story needs both because those things connect us to the plot (why we care about what’s happening) and the character (why we care why this particular thing is happening to this particular person).
My mission (and yours!): Go through the first chapter (and all of the ms, really) and make sure the MC’s voice shines through, that we get a sense of how they’re dealing with all the crazy chaos of The Story.
Want more writing tips?
- Check out the previous posts I’ve done on revision.
- Or check out the Show Don’t Tell Learn By Example series.
- Don’t want to scroll back up? Here’s the list of blogging mentees I mentioned earlier.