1. toskala1
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    toskala1 New Member

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    Novels written in the 1st Person

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by toskala1, Jul 22, 2011.

    Hi

    I'm planning on doing some writing in the 1st person but I have never written anything before. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for some great books written in the 1st person that I could enjoy and learn from?

    Kind Regards

    Toskala
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Jim Butcher's Dresden Files are written in first person, and he does a nice job of it across multiple novels. And they're entertaining too.
     
  3. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you don't mind Victorian prose then David Copperfield by Dickens.
     
  4. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Congratz on your first sentences! Was that mean? JK

    Anyway many novels in first person us that as an excuse to write poorly so try and avoid them.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I would probably switch to 3rd person depending on the book. Cause i used to have my side project Blue Phoenix a first person novel. Now it's a 3rd person novel, because i have so many characters.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You can write 1st person novels with multiple point of view characters, but it is even harder to do well and probably not a good idea as a beginner.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series is First Person Past tense, as is Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber.

    David Wood's The Zombie Driven Life and Sandra Kring's Carry Me Home are both First Person present tense novels.

    I think you've got the right idea, Toskala1. One of the best ways to learn how to write is to study the works of successful published authors.
     
  8. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    He's too modest to say so, but TWE's own novel, Flank Hawk, is written in first person as well. I'm reading it now and enjoying it. It doesn't hurt to support our fellow forum members by buying and reading their published works.
     
  9. toskala1
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    toskala1 New Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I may have to check out 'The Zombie Driven Life' as I also plan on writing in the present tense.

    Hopefully I'll be able to get something up on the forums for feedback shortly as I probably have some bad habits in terms of grammar etc. that will need sorting first off.

    Kind Regards,

    Toskala
     
  10. whitefairy24601
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    Honestly, it's perfectly fine to write in first person if you need to,and many 1st person books are excellent. For example: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, The Great Divorce by C.S Lewis, Matched by Ally Condie, Flush by Carl Hiaason, Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
    Those are just a few book from my large bookshelf.
    Really, first person can be easier for a beginner, or anyone for that matter because in first person you have only that person's thoughts to deal with rather than everyone's. Go for it, I wish you luck.
     
  11. toskala1
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    toskala1 New Member

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    Thanks, I like the sound of the book thief, might have to get myself a copy of that.
     
  12. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    I had a blog recently that was just on this topic, and Cogito actually had a very good response to using 1st person when writing and why it typically isn't used for novice writers. But at the same time, his description of 1st person writing made perfect sense and could definitely be used as a basis for attempting a 1st person novel. My blog listed three books that very successfully used 1st person, and I could certainly discuss more that I love. Feel free to drop me a PM if you want.

    I entirely disagree. 1st person writing is difficult, but when done well, it's amazing!! If it were only a "cover" for bad writing, then I think we'd see a lot more of it on the market.
     
  13. whitefairy24601
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    The book Thief is excellent. I own it and read the heck out of it.
     
  14. toskala1
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    Thanks for that teacherayala, having thought through my plot I'm thinking I may have some difficulty in getting this down. It's almost like at times I need to be using the point of view of a 'god-like' voice to narrate things from a higher point of view. Then at other occasions using the 1st person to narrate from the main characters thoughts. I think I will just try and get some down and see how it goes.

    Thanks again.
     
  15. WriterDude
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    1. There's no z in congratuations. If you have to shorten it, use congrats.

    2. Sentences is plural. In this case, use sentence.

    3. "Was that mean?" doesn't make sense. I think you mean "What does it mean?".

    And that, my friend, is as buuuuuurn! :D "Just kidding!)

    To get back on topic, I'm currently reading The Woods by Harlan Coben. Most of it is in first person past tense, although there are some third person past tense as well. Other than that, there's Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz. The book is told in first person present tense and takes place over 24 hours. I thought it was really weird to read like that, but it worked. :)
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The entire Sue Grafton alphabet mystery series (A is for Alibi, etc) is written masterfully in first person, and I recommend her to anyone who is serious about writiing in first person.

    However, the key to effective first person writing is to first master third person. Good first person writing focuses outward far more than inward.
     
  17. Scarvey
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    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
     
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  18. NikkiNoodle
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    I loved Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis (a retelling of the greek myth of Psyche and Eros) and Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (it IS a romance, but well written and an amazing listen in audio since Davina Porter's narration is second to none)
     
  19. Boisjolie
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    I'm on a huge Haruki Murakami kick right now. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle was a very fun first-person read. It's a little post-modernist and incorporates elements of magical realism. It turned me into a fan :)
     
  20. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Alice Walker does a good job with first-person, too. Her characters' vocies are very strong and consistent.

    Scarvey, I love the Hunger Games! OMG! :D
     
  21. TobiasJames
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    Robin Hobb's first-person portrayal of Fitz in the Assassin's Apprentice trilogy is the one that springs to mind for me. As a very general rule, I don't like reading books written in the first person. Yet that series engaged me and got me onside with the character, despite the occasional lapse when I couldn't suspend disbelief that I would do what the character was doing.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Just as an aside - I've heard this criticism before, and it makes me wonder how many people feel this way. I've read books where I wouldn't do what the character was doing in a given situation, but I'm not the character. As long as it is consistent for the character, I'm fine with it no matter how far removed the act might be from what I'd choose.

    Do you think this criticism is more pronounced in first person stories? Do people actually put themselves into the shoes of the narrator because "I" is present in the narration so often?

    Something I've wondered about.
     
  23. Cain
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    Moby Dick (well, mostly). I really don't like first person narration, yet this is one of my favourite books.

    The reason first person irritates me isn't really a rational one to be honest. It just seems to be the default choice of first time writers simply because their writing can express what they're thinking as they write it. Consequently each and every sentence has 'I' in it. After seeing so much of that it sets my teeth on edge and I have some pavlovian reaction to it, whether the writing's good or bad.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    What's irrational about it, just out of curiosity?
     
  25. Cain
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    Oh, perhaps it's not then :) If I pick up a book and see it's in first person, then it's off to a bad start immediately, and maybe that's not really fair.
     

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