Who’s on first? Who’s on third? The reader should be, that’s who!

As in First Person instead of Third Person. As in writing, “My head hurt,” instead of, “Holly’s head hurt.” Which one makes you feel Holly’s pain? Question: Which one puts you in the driver’s seat? Answer: It hurts more if it is your head that hurts.

I have been working on my point of view (POV) in my writing. Point of view as in you see a novel chapter, or a short story, only from that character’s point of view. And I mean WORKING on it for the past several months. Last Saturday, I was at the San Mateo County Fair’s literary stage (check them out on Author Day on June 14 Saturday). I had some lady authors—Beth Barany, Laurel Anne Hill, and Sandra Saidak—briefly review the first chapter of my novel. Sandra laughed, Beth and Laurel were more serious. They were good critics. One big comment was that I should work on POV. For example, Laurel said, “Where is the narrator?” Beth said that we need Holly’s emotional reaction to a character’s artwork. (Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, Alfred said, were about evoking an emotional response. Strong POV is emotional.)

rivet-deep-povThe book “Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point Of View” by Jill Elizabeth Nelson discusses getting into the POV character’s head, even when you are writing third person. Lots of good advice in that book. It set me on the POV path.

But there is another way to get close POV. Write in first person. It forces you to get into the POV head and STAY THERE! So I will rewrite my short stories to be first person. Yes, even the bad hair day story, which really should have been on Amazon by now! I think the novel will still be in third person (as in close third, deep POV) because it will have more than one POV character. maybe I’ll write the novel chapters in first person, and then find and replace “I” with the name of the POV character.

Anyhow. I have been very bugged with how parts of my stories drifted out of the POV head and into the omniscient narrator cloud, and clouds don’t make for great reading. (Galactus was a cloud in the second Fantastic Four flick, and clouds make boring villains!) I want the first person trick to fasten me into the POV driver seat with thick seat belts. I want my readers to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, feel, think, and get FURIOUS at what Holly does! (Or what Cal the Intellectual does, I have just started a new story with his POV.)

I am well into rewriting the bad hair day. I’ll see how it goes. (Yes, I saved the old copy!)

P.S. Tense? I use past tense. (Except for a few short sections in the novel, and that is for a very special reason.)

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2 thoughts on “Who’s on first? Who’s on third? The reader should be, that’s who!

  1. Editorial omniscient narration is my one true way to go, and I will not be deterred by any of your propaganda.

    • That is what Tolkien used. If that is what works for you, don’t let me stop you! As R. Crumb said, “Anything that works!”

      What works for me is strapping myself into the protagonist’s head: first person or close third person. My Super Holly story bundle on Kindle (Super Bad Hair Day, and The Poet and the Supersplainer) are both close third. So are my upcoming stories about Kittygirl and The Puppy Brothers. But Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert? He’s the Batman type, and insists on the letter “I”.

      Thanks for commenting! You got a website with some writing I can read? Maybe I can learn something.

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