For the first time, I am completing a manuscript in first person. About ten thousand words into this manuscript, I started to ask myself if it should be in first person, or if it is better off in third. It was pointed out to me that it reads much like third person already, since my characterhas been observant — I know that part of this is because I am a third person limited sort of gal, and not about the character at all. I forget that I am writing in first person and come to realize it when the “camera” swings back around to my heroine.
I used to loathe first person. Reading books in first person felt awkward for me, and I thought that the author was just being lazy — that it was easier for them to pour out emotions and dialogue from one person first hand; it was cutting the corners of characterization, and, sadly to say, I also thought that it meant that the words were not as creative and sculpted and chosen as they would be in third person.
I know now that is all very silly.
After two years in my graduate program, I’ve come to befriend all the points of view. After seeing plenty of different submissions to workshop, and reading all sorts of different books, I know that it isn’t lazy writing at all. In fact, as I am writing this piece, I am finding it to be a challenge: a challenge to push the boundaries and work with a medium that I’m not familiar with.
It is natural for me to feel the pang of hesitation. I question myself every two thousand words or so: Should this be in first person? Would it be better off in third? What if I am getting too far ahead and it all turns out to be a mistake in the end? Then I’ll have 75k+ words to switch around into third and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Let the panic begin.
I think, for this one, I am going to stick with it. I enjoy the challenge, and while I might worry excessively about the outcome, at least I will have learned from it in the end.
What are your thoughts about POV? I’m eager to hear them!