Whose Voice Is It Anyway?

Remember that time I talked about how much I loved third person narrative because it suited the way I imagine my stories? In fact, I went as far to say it suits me to the core of my creative being.

Now, look at the penultimate line of that post:


I, Miss Cole, She Who Thought Third Person Narrative Ruled All Fiction She Would Ever Create, hereby announce I am writing a MS in first person perspective.

Um...


;)

Whenever I've tried first person before, I've used a diary format, like the character is recording things to read back to themselves.  This time it's more stream of consciousness.  I love it, but it's definitely a learning curve.

My new MC (who, after 13,000 words, finally has a name) definitely has a distinct voice, but occasionally she slips into sounding like someone else.  It might be my personality seeping through or a completely different character, but keeping her sounding like herself isn't always easy. I've had to put down the book I was reading because it's a first person narrative and I keep veering into its style.

Voice is always important, but even more so in a first person narrative.  In third person, you can dip in and out of your character(s) at will, and I really love having that option.  But this new story won't work in third.  The MC walked into my head and started talking.  It's the most character-driven thing I've ever written. If I tried to force this into a third person narrative, I wouldn't be able to write.  The MC's voice is the thing driving this story on.

But like I said, sometimes her voice is lost.

Consistency is essential if I'm to keep a reader engaged in my MC's story.  She can't go out of character when the story is being told from her perspective.  Whenever she sounds like someone else, I remind myself of her character defining traits and get back on track.

...She is extremely chatty though, despite her antisocial personality.  Editing this book will take a while.

I've got a lot to learn about writing this way, but the moral of the story? Never say never.

Comments

  1. When I tried out 1st person for the first time it was to help out with voice. Third's my go-to narrative but it means I struggle with the voice a lot.

    It sounds like your WiP is going well. It's always nice having a MC who will co-operate and tell you things. :)

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    1. Yup, third's my go to as well, so when this story came out in first, it was a big surprise!

      She's a very cooperative, if somewhat angsty, MC. I kinda love her!

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  2. Both first and third person have voice challenges. With third it's making sure the narrator sounds like you, and each character sounds distinct. With first, it's making sure the narrator DOESN'T sound like you, which is a great challenge, but can also be hard work. I should know: I'm writing a first-person narrative as a 16-yr-old alien girl! :)

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that is a challenge! Good luck to you with your alien :D

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