1. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    Why do I find it easier to write sensory details in first person POV?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Magnatolia, Apr 4, 2014.

    Hi guys,

    I wrote a small scene today at work, just practicing writing in first person POV. I don't actually like this POV due to the limits it has. But I found when I transferred it to third person I suddenly had a much more richer scene. I wrote it from scratch in third person and it seemed flat. Any thoughts on what's going on here and how I can get into my characters POV more deeply? I'd rather not write each scene in first person, then transfer to third.

    This is what I wrote:

    First Person POV

    I bit my tongue, warm saliva rushing over the teeth marks. I realized I was holding my breath, throat constricted. Footsteps clicked closer. I let my breath out with a silent whisper between my lips. Footsteps drew nearer. I curled myself up into a ball. Watched shadows flicker under the table. The voices grew louder. I clenched the edge of the table with my hands, blood draining from my knuckles.

    A shadow fell over me. “Found you! My turn!”

    I closed my eyes and counted. “5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Ready or not here I come!”

    Third-Person POV (Transfer)

    She bit her tongue, warm salving rushing over the teeth marks. He’s going to find me I’m sure of it. Her throat muscles relaxed. She let out her breath with a silent whisper between dry lips. Licking them quickly her ears tuned to the sound of footsteps drawing nearer. She pulled her knees in to her chest, knuckles whitening. The voice grew louder. A shadow fell over her.

    “Found you! My turn!”

    She squealed. Eyes squeezed shut. “Okay. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Ready or not here I come!”

    Third-Person POV (From scratch)

    She hid behind the desk. The footsteps grew nearer. Louder. She prayed he wouldn’t find her hiding spot. She could see the shadows of his feet on the other side of the table. Unmoving. A shadow fell over her.

    “Found you! My turn!”

    She squeeled and squeezed her eyes shut. “Okay. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Ready or not here I come!”


    To me the Third-Person POV scene that was transferred from what I wrote in first person is far richer and more descriptive, while still showing. The third scene to me feels like it's telling without actually telling.

    I just want to point out that what I'm comparing is the two third-person scenes. I'm aware that the transfer third-person scene has extra detail compared to the first-person one as it is effective a second draft written in a different pov.

    Hopefully someone can shed some light on this, and advise me how I can get into that better style of writing my scenes.

    Thanks!
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Third I have a sense of distance from the character because the mc becomes she not I. It's a battle. However, I have the bonus of seeing the over all scenes like a director but with the ability to play any part at the same time. There's no real advice that I know of - mainly it's just instinct - knowing when to leap in and give some emotion, then knowing when to back off. I think it just comes with practice and also knowing the first draft of third person might sound drier than the first draft written in first person.

    I've actually found that to be the case with me. I have to cut more from my 1st person drafts, but I have to add more to third.
     
  3. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    Thanks @peachalulu Are you saying I should be using I in third person more? I tend to very occasionally add I mainly when I'm bringing a thought to the page such as I'm never going to make it, she thought drily. If you could make the second version less drier what would you add?

    Thank!
     
  4. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    You are allowing the transition in POV to affect your imagination and thinking too much. Basically the "you" in First Person is still the "you" in Third. You still have to imagine the emotions, the sensory input, and so forth, but record it using a more objective style, as if the character was giving you a constant narration of what his is doing, thinking, and feeling.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yeah, I usually imply the I in third person. I think it's called deep third. Sometimes I drop pronouns - at least to start the sentence - Gooseflesh rose on her arms at every sound - that sort of thing. I also look to the setting to help me flesh it out even more. If I can pinpoint where she is - I can offer more description - she's under a staircase - I can use that. Amping up the tension as she watches feet come down the basement steps or something. Or pushing herself deeper into cobweby shadows and
    trying to stave off a sneeze.
     

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