First Person

First Person … Hey, that’s me!

August 2010

Why?

There are many reasons to write from the first person point of view. It takes some practice to write in the first person, and sometimes it’s hard to keep your “real self” out of the narrative. Once learned, however, it provides an excellent source of character exposition.

Writing in first person is a little like writing dialogue; especially dialogue in a play. The character can reveal a lot about himself or earlier plot lines without the author having to write a clumsy interjection into the narrative.

I once said of myself that I could not write dialogue, so I didn’t. Somewhere along the line, though, I took up play writing. I discovered not only that I could write dialogue, but that I enjoyed the challenge.

I now write quite a bit in first person and I am “currently” working on a piece which, so far, is entirely in first person. My character will let me know!

When?

I’ve found that most forms of literature can lend themselves to the first person point of view.

I’ve seen it done all the time in plays [drama].

I’ve seen it used in poetry. Look at the Psalms in the Bible. Nearly all are in the first person – singular and plural.

Fiction is a great vehicle for first person exposition.

I’m not sure that I’ve seen much non-fiction written first person except for your occasional travelogue or sometimes a biography.

I couldn’t say that there is a right or wrong time to be writing in the first person. I believe – as I have “always” believed – that your character(s) will let you know how they want you to tell their story.

After all, it is about the story after all, isn’t it?

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