"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Person

Reading first person point of view I feel like I'm there feeling what the character feels, hating, crying, loving, and laughing right along. Emotions are raw in first person. The story is more intense. I see and feel the story. The reader takes that journey.

Writing a first person narrative is sharing an experience of an internal journey of discovery. I grow or had an 'aha' moment. First person point of view, where I'm inside the head of one of the characters, is a way to pull the reader into a story. Seeing everything through that person's eyes gives the reader a sense of immediacy, a sense of actually living the novel--if it's done right, of course.

Fiction or nonfiction, there I am. A part of me is available for others to see. I find that scary, perhaps just awkward, but a challenge. According to Cheryl Wright of "Fiction Factor," first person narration is becoming more and more popular, and this is being recognized by many publishers. The Factor says the trick is to eliminate most of those nasty "I" words that so easily begin each sentence. For example, "I glanced at the clock," becomes "my eyes darted to the clock."

John Steinbeck told The Winter of Our Discontent partially in first person. Some books often tagged first person are The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

--Mary Wood
Mary graduated from University of Missouri, Columbia with a Masters of Social Work. Having completed clinicals in mental health, she worked for a county health department and spent several years of her career on a neuropsychiatric unit of a hospital. (She always knew she would get help.) Having retired she has jumped off another cliff to try her hand at writing. "Writing is the chance to make things up, fantasize. I can say anything, almost." Home is Southern Indiana. As an adult she lived in several states and traveled the U. S., settling in Idaho Falls, ID. She loves the mountains and the snow.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with us, Mary. First person does tend to make you connect more with the character.

  2. Great post, Mary. I love reading first person, but I'm not so good writing it.

  3. Wonderful post. For me, personally, my writing voice is first person. I struggle to write in third person. Thanks for the post!

  4. Stories in first person tend to have a taste of mystery to them even when that isn't the genre. The reader only knows what the main character knows. Love the post, Mary. (Sherry)