Writing Tools: Tightening Up Narration (plus a DWJ update)


I don’t write in First-Person.

I’ve always been drawn to third-person narratives and have always written them. Even my first story about amateur sleuth Avery was in third-person, and I wrote that when I was barely ten-years-old.

So why is this current WIP in first-person?

An easy answer is that I was speaking with a group of students about books that they like to read and the sort of stories they pick up. They were candid about what pulls them in, and a couple of them spoke up about first-person narratives really being a factor in whether or not they’ll continue moving past the first chapter. I admit that I worked on a version of my Steampunk series where Book One is in first-person (rewriting it from third) because of this conversation. I think the story is a completely different animal as a result, but I do admit that it was a lot of fun to write.

Now with this Adventure series, I immediately thought, “It’s going to be in first-person.” With the story and its protagonist, first-person made sense.

So if it makes sense, why is it so difficult to write?

I’m not wildly experienced with first-person narrative, for one thing, and I have to reevaluate how I approach the narrative. It’s really easy to get into the schlump of Noun-Verb, like “I did” and “I was” and “I thought.” The writing felt lazy.

Turns it, it was lazy.

M.E. Hearn introduced me to the website of fellow writer MK England, specifically her post on first-person narrative. Then, within that post, is a link to a Chuck Palahniuk article from LitReactor. THOSE POSTS HELPED, GUYS. (All caps because they seriously helped.) If you’re struggling to get your first-person narration to the right level, read those posts. Trust me.

I’m going to build a post on The Lady Nerds about my struggles with first-person narration and what steps you can take to step up your game. Keep your eyes open for that one.

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