I realized that I’d been away from the blogosphere a while but a month?! Goodness do I have a lot to catch up on! In the meantime, allow me to assure you that I’m still alive and well. A bad case of writer’s block followed by a few busy weeks of prep for the school year has kept me away. Not that it’s a good excuse, but for some reason I always feel the need to explain my shortcomings anyway. : )
Anyways, on to more interesting things…
I am an admitted first-person-aholic. Since I grew tired of writing in third person in fifth grade, the first person narrator has become my modus operandi. Perhaps it’s because it helps me delve deeper into the character’s mind and motives or because of all of those pesky third person pronouns means that eventually it becomes unclear which “he” or “she” is who.
Regardless, a first person narrator has challenges that a third person narrator doesn’t usually encounter. One of them I hadn’t even considered until my mom’s recent review of my novel. (If you were wondering, no, it’s not finished yet but it’s much closer.)
First person narrators are easily affected by their feelings.
Just as you and I perceive situations based off of our emotions, so do first person narrators. And while this seems so obvious, it’s easy to forget (at least, apparently, for me). My narrator isn’t deeply flawed or unstable. However, that doesn’t mean that she’s necessarily the ideal reliable narrator. As her understanding of situations change, her feelings obviously change.
More importantly, those changes alter how she tells her story. She isn’t like the news reporters of the early 1800’s who kept more to facts than to feelings. (Certainly more so than after yellow journalism was born.) She is like me. She gets angry, upset, excited, etc., and her perceptions of people and events reflect it. And surely that must be reflected in her descriptions of those people and events (especially given the writing style I’ve chosen).
So now you know what I’ll be doing during the next round of novel editing. Then maybe I’ll finally take the advice Emma Coats gave and let the story be done. Maybe.