Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstacy that is Third Person...

As many of you might have guessed by now, I am a devout follower of the First Person Past Writing Movement. 

There's just something about placing myself in my MC's shoes and walking a mile...or several dozen.  In this format, I--and by association, my readers (all four of you)--get to experience, first hand, every little ache, pain, joy, and sorrow that my main character does.  For me, it's the emotional upheaval, the wonder, the tragedy, the love, and the death that I get to not just read about but participate in that is the real attraction that first person perspective holds. 

Why read as an outsider looking in when you can actually be in that one person's shoes?  I mean, come on, people.  If I wanted to peek in on people, I could just go look in my neighbors' windows.  :)  Okay, I'm kidding...maybe ;)

But, this all changed a couple months ago when Kelly Breakey emailed me with a fun little proposition.  No, not that kind of proposition.  Get your mind out of the gutters, people!  In all seriousness(I know. I know.  When am I ever serious, right?) Kelly proposed that we start a Round-Robin writing experiment that we now affectionately refer to as FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K.  I agreed instantly, and then we spent the next couple of weeks hammering out details....like character names and background info, genre, and the rules and regulations that would govern our little shindig.

And, it ended up in third person.  EEK!!

Scared and more than a little irritated** that Kelly would do this to me even AFTER I spent an entire email monologuing on the virtues of first person perspective and then ending with a begging plea for anything, ANYTHING but third.  And, this is how she repays me?!?!

But, guess what, minions?  I actually like third person.  Now.  (please, please, PLEASE don't Kelly I admitted to this. She'll never let me live it down!)  Now, I see the greatness that can come out of third person.  Not only can I show the reader my MC's emotions, but I can also delve into the back stories of all my side characters.  I can show the emotional turmoil that SC #1 went through and how she came to the decision to chop off all her hair and join a boy band***  I can also clue the reader in on how SC#2's parents are abusive alcoholics and spend their free time burning holes in his arm with lit cigarettes***  How great is all that?

So now, I am about to begin my next SNI in which I am not only taking on the new and thrilling challenge of writing an ADULT novel (something literary but more women's fiction...think Jodi Picoult) but I am also going to write this in THIRD PERSON.  EEK!! *fingers crossed* Wish me luck.  I know I'll probably need that and more!!

What do you all think? Can I do it? Any words of wisdom from you adult writers out there?  Any and all comments are appreciated.  And, when you're done here, you really must hop on over to Kelly's blog where you will find her snip for this week of FUN AND GAMES WITH K & K.

**Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a hair here.
***Completely fictious instances.  None of my characters have ever chopped off all their hair and joined a boy band or been set on fire by their parents.  That's not a bad idea though...hmm...note to self...


  1. perspective is an interesting choice because each one has its benefits and its limitations. i think trying each one helps to make us stronger as writers.

    i'm about to write a YA in first person and i'm really excited. it should be a nice change from the MG third person i've been working on.

    good luck with your adult novel! now that's quite a switch, but you're going to rock it, per usual.

  2. I am sorry I don't have time to write a comment on your blog today I am so puffed up at being called right and you did it in writing so it is there for the whole world to see.

    Okay, on a side note. I think you write spectacularly in third person. You do the first person one well too, but I think for this experiment we were right to go for third b/c of all the different characters we have introduced.

    And of course I knew you would like 3rd person if you just gave it a chance. Again, I have it in writing that I was right. Hang on a second, I just ran outside to crow at the top of my lungs that I was write and you can read all about it here. Also send my hubs and a copy of your blog posting just in case he ever doubts me again.


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