On Projection

Sometime last year I wrote a post about POV, and how we need to pick not only the best POV for the story, but also what is going to work best for us as a writer. I assumed that the best POV for me was 3rd. After all, I’m great at it. Lol! I’ve been doing it long enough. I also hated 1st, lots of reasons, none of which made any sense, I guarantee.

So the Super Awsome Sunflower Michelle was talking about Writing Style on her blog last Monday. Now, I’d been writing in first person on and off for the last several months at this point. And you know, it was actually working a lot better for me. So I just went with it. Why not, eh? But it wasn’t until I was thinking about her post that it dawned on me exactly why it was working so well.

I have issues! Lol! In this case, I’m talking specifically about how uncomfortable I am opening up to people, telling them I love them, letting them into my little bubble or whatever. Not an unknown thing to me, I’ve known this since college. What I didn’t know was how this affected my writing. I thought, not at all! And this was another reason I thought third person worked better for me. I kept hearing about authors having problems keeping their voices separated from the character’s when they write in 1st. DANGER, right?!

Only this is what was happening: in third person, there is a natural distance. Because of my writing style, I had to get really close to these characters, like pressed up against their cheeks in a really uncomfortable like “why are you breathing on me omg stop” kind of way. I needed to be in their heads, you know. I thrive there. ^_^ And because of this, I ended up too close, like having to filter my own voice out their POV all the freaking time! They talked like me, they acted like me. It was sooo hard. I realized this, thank God! and worked really hard to separate myself. It got better, but it never went away.

So I had a character come to me last year who wanted all the control possible! After a long battle I gave in and started writing in first person and OMG it was so much better! Things just flowed better. But then after setting that aside to do research (and you know how much I love research! Lol!), I went back to 3rd and it just felt…hard. And it had never felt hard before. I swear I had problems I had never had before! So when NaNoWriMo came around last November, I decided to try 1st again. And again, like magic, things were suddenly like 125% better!

This is what was happening: because 1st is naturally more intimate, I immediately pulled away. And because I had to pull away, my characters didn’t have me breathing down their necks, trying to dictate everything they did! But because I lost that closeness, I didn’t know what was going on so I had to trust them more. (I have trust issues, too. Lol!) It was fun. I started pushing my current MC for plot details because I wanted to know EVERYTHING and she was just like, “No, don’t do that. Don’t push. Don’t try to figure anything out.” And I loved her so much already because she was just so…magical, Lol! that I threw my hands up and backed off. And when I trusted her, something awesome happened! I stopped projecting. I just listened to her and wrote and it was like, “OMG, who knew this would happen?!”

I was so excited. And I wondered why so many 1st person stories were coming to me lately…I didn’t get it yet, you know. I had to learn something. And now I see why my vampire series wasn’t working. Not because it needed to be in first, but because I was trying to control everything and didn’t trust them. I wasn’t letting myself go, and I needed to in order for it to work. So I’m actually reorganizing that right now. The ideas just started coming to me! It’ll be in third because there are multiple viewpoints, but maybe this time I won’t freak out on myself and muck it all up. ^_^

So yeah…I had a feeling while working on my NaNo project that I had done myself a great disservice by ignoring 1st person all these years. I guess the important thing is, now I know. ^^ Better than not knowing ever. It’s just so amazing. ^^

And stuff comes in steps, you know. The first step I took towards this discovery wasn’t trying 1st person, it was letting my characters drop expletives again, when and where and how they wanted, something I suddenly become uncomfortable with when I was transitioning into a better writer. (Like, what would people think of me?!) Now, I still edited the f-bombs out, but anyone who knows me can tell ya like, I talk like a G-rated Disney character. Like, I won’t even say hell unless it’s in the title of something. Lol! This was 4 years ago. It was like someone let me out of a cage! I felt so free! I felt like old 13 year old me again, only much MUCH better. And next, the kissing scenes came back full force, because those had also become difficult to write during my transitioning phase.

I got super paranoid. What can I say. So it’s really amazing what can trigger stuff. I wonder how long it would have taken me to realize this on my own. At least I was on the right path. ^_^

17 Responses to On Projection

  1. Awesome. I LOVE first person. My first couple projects were in 3rd, but I started into 1st about 10 years ago, and I think being that close to the characters is EPIC. It almost killed me when I had to rewrite one of my books to 3rd person rather than first, but it was one that had enough plot it needed other perspectives. *sigh* You really do have to figure out what works by project, eh?

    • It definitely varies! There is just something so intense about. ^_^ I’m loving it do much. If I need multiple view points, though, I like to write in third. I know there are other ways to do it, but that always seems to work best for me. I did dual first person once and about drove myself crazy. It actually put me off first person for a long time, unfortunately. I was so green. ^_^

      • I completely get that. I’ve debated doing dual first person, and I think I’d get to stuck in one person’s head and write them into the other person. Oops. No, I’m kidding. I’m sure I’d get it down, but still… Actually, my serial story (set to start releasing in 6 to 9 months) is written through two different people in first person, but each one narrates an entire episode before the switch, so I guess we’ll see.

  2. I’m so glad you’re so happy about it! I wrote my first ms in 3rd, and I was all over the place–in the heads and minds of every single character.I would linger on scenes that were completely unnecessary simply because I wanted each character’s view to be present at all times. It was a big mess, that ms was. My current is in 1st and I love it.

    • I get carried away a lot more in third it seems. I also rush things a lot more at the same time. Probably my natural impatience rubbing off on the story. Lol! It is making me really happy. ^_^ I wish I started doing this sooner!

    • I LOVE third for multiple view points! I get to bounce around and see multiple angles, and that is always a lot of fun for me. ^_^ For whatever reason, it’s disaster city if I write in third with only one POV. All that work. *sigh* So it was difficult enough to talk myself into sticking to just one view point given the wrecks I’ve written, because I originally tried it in third again.

  3. I’ve been playing around with 1st person POV more and more lately, and it really is amazing how different it is to write that way! Certain POVs I think are more suited to certain stories, but of course the challenge is figuring out how to match them up. (Like writing needs more challenges….)

    • Right?! I love it when the stories come to me with the best POV for the job all ready to go. ^_^ I have an idea right now that I have no idea on. I’m really hoping it makes a decision by the time I get to it. Lol!

  4. I swore NEVER to write in 1st person when I started writing. The funny thing about life is that such swears always come back to haunt you. That ballet story I told you guys about is in 1st person (ug!). I’ve discovered that my characters gain more voice when I take difficult sections of the WIP and flip the POV around. Then I flip it back. By doing this, I’m forced to see the scenes from a different stand point, which can really add a lot more depth. But you’re right, 1st person pulls more from one personally. I guess we’re forced to drop our britches 😉

    • I was like that, too! I tried it a couple of times and it didn’t go so well (though this *was* back in the early days), but still, I was like, “Never ever EVER!” Lol! Definitely being haunted right now! And chased by other ideas just like it!

      That’s awesome! ^_^ I should try that flippy thing one day, I love depth! Life IS funny isn’t it? I still can’t believe I’m writing in 1st after running from it for so long.

  5. Happy you finally found what worked for you. Your WIP would be better for it.
    Funny but I had a similar problem that I discussed on my blog early last year. Started my current WIP in first person (wrote my First Real Novel in first person), and it wasn’t working, so I switched to third. But it was a hard battle before I got there. I so much wanted it to be in the first person point of view!

    • I think my first novel was in first. I can’t believe I don’t remember! Lol!

      This was definitely a battle. I never wanted to write anything but multiple 3rd person view point stories. That is so where I lived. ^_^ I feel kind of silly now when I think about how long it took me to even make the decision to TRY it. It was sad. Lol! I was freaking out. Just goes to show though, we really never know where our stories are going to take us. ^_^

  6. Hi, Krystal. What a great post! For somebody with trust issues 🙂 you really bared your soul, lol. I’m really glad for you, that you’re finding your voice. It’s you without the doubt and fear and all of that. You are trusting yourself more, trusting your process more. Do that, your writing can only get better and better.

    Writing in first person POV seems to be the easiest way for me to write. Talk about characters whispering in your ear–mine are in my head, shoving my little pea brain aside, jostling for space. Now that I think about it, that explains a lot. 🙂

    • Hi! ^_^ So true! I’ve been fighting to get that doubt and other junk out of my writing for a good seven years!

      Lol! That’s so great that your head is full of characters! I think we get the best characters when the little monsters start invading our space. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by! ^_^

Hi! ^_^