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. ^_^