1. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    First Person Issues

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JayReader25, Apr 10, 2013.

    I've written many assignment in class and short stories in my free time, but this is my first real project of a novel. This is also my first person story I've done as well. So I'd like to ask:
    1. (New Question) What are some effective ways to avoid using I and restructuring sentences to avoid I, but still sound like either a thought or a believable sight by the main character.
     
  2. Quoux
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    Quoux Member

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    1. Introduce the main character naturally! Either through thought, or by being called by someone. Other characters; same advice. But, don't let mine limit you!

    2. Symbolism, symbolism, symbolism! The Point Of View doesn't matter as much as does the foreshadow. For instance; the character's house will burn down later on in the story. Have a specific paragraph devoted to his thoughts upon seeing a campfire (or another fire-related anomaly)

    3. Through dialogue! This is the most common way, at least. The way he interacts with people will show a lot of his true colors. But on a Jungian perspective; his thoughts and ambitions are also a big contributor. These will reveal his true nature. Besides this, his actions; specifically the ones he uses to obtain his goals.

    4. Use all of the above! But only when necessary. In moderation they can be wonderful description tools; but too much will just cloud your story. Using alliteration in a medieval story may be very difficult; make sure you know your history well before replicating it!

    My tips on suspense would be cliffhangers, and always hide a suspense within a suspense! (Like suspense inception). One thing always leads to something deeper and darker; coupled with cliff hangers, you might have your self a deadly pool of suspense. Rhetoric will definitely help a lot, too.
     
  3. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    THANK YOU... I really will take this to my story and I appreciate it very much. The symbolism for suspense was a eye opener, so that will help me thanks and if you need advice or help or just a critique hit me up.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    JayReader25,

    If you want to write 1st person POV, present tense and you're struggling how to do it, consider reading and studying novels written in that form. See how those authors accomplished what you're concerned about. Then, from your notes and ideas drawn from those examples, apply what you learned to your writing style and the novel you're working on.

    I don't know what genres/areas of interst and your planned novel is to be written in, so I'll take a shot in the dark in recommendations...
    Two novels that I would recommend that are 1st person Present Tense are:

    Carry Me Home, by Sandra Kring
    The Zombie Driven Life by David Wood
     
  5. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    I've been reading a lot of articles lately stating the difficulty of writing 1st person present, but I knew I wanted the challenge, so I didn't change it and yeah I'm doing a suspense-adventure type of genre. And thanks for the recommendations I'll try it get these two the zombie driven life's title seems very interesting so thanks again
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    JayReader25,

    1st person POV can be tricky enough for some writers. Present tense only compounds that. The main flaw I see with writers trying it is that their prose tends to sound 'play-by-play."

    One other title that might strike your interest that's 1st person POV, present tense is: Confessions of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer.

    The thing about studying novels to learn how to write one (or more) is that you really have to like them or it gets tedious and less enjoyable.

    Good luck with the writing.
     
  7. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    Yeah I'll check that book out to thanks again
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    The book that really helped me with first person was "Manson: In His Own Words," a memoir about Charles Manson.
     
  9. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    Thanks for the references people I'll have a library to read haha? So I have another question do u think it would be good to add a third person prologue? Instead of starting the book with just off-task description
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    A big problem with 1st person is that it is not immediately clear if the person is male or female, and it can be clumsy introducing a name near the beginning. Fantastic reasons to avoid 1st person like the plague.
     
  11. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Why do you need a prologue?
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my experience, 1st person either comes naturally to you or it doesn't. To me, there's nothing more natural than slipping into a character and writing in first person. I never thought about it much, just did it, like acting. You need to get into the character and at the same time, maintain the writer's point of view so that you are not rambling but actually telling the story.
    I would recommend you find what comes naturally and then write in that form until you gain confidence and experience as a writer. Then you can learn to write in 1st person more easily.
     
  13. bluejt2000
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    Not if you intend to use it as an information dump.

    There's no reason why you shouldn't use first person, as long as you're aware of the difficulties, which you seem to be. My advice is to read as many novels as you can in your chosen genre that are written in the first person, and learn how the authors have slipped in information such as gender and other background stuff, rather than resort to using a prologue to put it across.
     
  14. JayReader25
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    Prologue

    I want to describe the setting in the story before I start my first person character so it not my first person character explaining the whole setting from knowledge he won't know yet
     
  15. JayReader25
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    Prologue

    Yeah the original paragraph I added I'm changing and adding to the new prologue
     
  16. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Why not explain the setting from the main character's view? That works well in fiction; the main character is just as new to the setting as the reader, and so as he discovers the setting, so will the reader.
     
  17. JayReader25
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    Well I have that now, but I want to also describe the setting in depth that I wouldn't be able to do in first person
     
  18. TWErvin2
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    JayReader25,

    You're probably better off trusting the reader to figure it out, and not including a prologue from a different POV, especially if you're using 1st person/present tense. This can throw off/annoy the reader...or potential reader considering your novel. With worldbuilding, 90% of what is created never reaches the pages of a novel (at least with fantasy and SF), but having it back there makes your writing and story consistent over the long haul.

    Also, as has been said above, using it (a prologue) as an infodump will turn off readers before they even get to the story. Providing information without context isn't likely to be remembered by the readers anyway.

    My first novel did have a variation. It's written in first person, but past tense, not present tense as you're considering JayReader25. However, beginning with the 2nd chapter and through the 27th chapter of my first novel, there is what I call 'chapter starts' that are anywhere from several paragraphs, up to almost a page in length that are written in third person POV. In the 28th chapter the two 'storylines' merge. Most readers enjoyed the structure, and some indicated they'd have liked more of the third person storyline. I've not had any reader tell me they really disliked the structure--but then again, those folks might not have decided to read my novel after scanning the beginning chapters. The rest of the novel (chapter 28 to 33 and the epilogue) is only in 1st person, following the main storyline. My point with this is that anything can work, if done well and there's a good reason for doing it, such as a third person past tense prologue before a first person present tense storyline.
     
  19. JayReader25
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    JayReader25 Member

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    Thanks I'll use your this to revise
     
  20. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    some books to read that do this well.
    odd Thomas series
    twilight eyes both are Koontz
     

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