1. Ree
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    Ree Member

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    1st person POV - Recalling the past

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ree, Mar 3, 2010.

    I'm writing a story in first person, but may need to change the POV. Chapter one is set in the present and then the MC recalls a part of her childhood for the remainder of the story. I'd like her to be 10 or 11 yrs old; however, I'm worried it's not credible for her to recall such vivid memories.

    I've switched it to third person and it reads ok. It feels more natural to write this in first person.

    Should I be concerned about her age? Should I go with third person to be safe?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Third person is a much more flexible POV anyway, and can be every bit as intimate as first. I wont go so far ast to say never use first person, though. It is a perspective with a long history of success, but is definitely more challenging to do well. And doing it well almost prerequires a mastery of third person.
     
  3. Ree
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    Ree Member

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    Thank you!
     
  4. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you think it might not be credible then your readers probably will, too. But is that an issue? As well as the question of POV, there's always the question of whether the narrator is reliable or not. She might not be able to remember her childhood in great detail, but she should be able to tell a story about her childhood in as much detail as her storytelling skills allow. She just won't be reliable. If you establish her as an unreliable narrator ("Some bits are a bit hazy after all these years, but I'll fill them in as best I can", or some such) then I don't see why you shouldn't get away with it.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It's really a non-issue. No narrative in the past tense is ever really credible. No one can remember the past in the amount of detail you typically find in a novel. It can either mean that the narrator is unreliable (because they are making things up) or that the narrator is omniscient rather than limited to the character. It's a narratological question that comes up quite often. There's a lot of theory about it.
     
  6. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    I'm on board with it being irrelevant whether or not a 1st person narrator would "remember so much detail." You look at creative non-fiction and the author is always going to fill in for what the memory cannot conjure up from the past. The same could he said for a 1st person. It also depends on the type of details you're talking about here.

    There's a difference between:

    1. The sky was bright that day and the sun lolled in the sky like a giant orb, a thunderbird poised and ready.

    and

    2. The sky was bright that day and I looked up with my green eyes to see the sun and it shone on my tan face. I blocked it from my gaze with my thick hand.

    We usually don't walk around saying, "I just saw this guy with my green eyes and then I waved with my thick hand." We just say, "I saw this guy and I waved." Does that make sense?
     
  7. Ree
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    Ree Member

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    Thanks all! I appreciate your responses.

    MsMyth71 - Yes, that does make sense. If she was 14 at the time of the story, I would definitely go with 1st person. It's the younger age that bothers me.

    I've only written chapter one, so maybe I'll write chapter two (the start of her past) in 1st and 3rd to see how it reads. If neither works, I guess I can make her older.

    Thanks again!!
     

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