Last week we had a pretty good chat here at the Inkpot about third person (3P) narratives and “telling.” So, I guess it’s time to talk about first person (1P). The thing about 1P narratives, of course, is that they are all telling; the form is pretty much a monologue. Even when dialogue is included, it’s there under the umbrella of “This is what we said, according to me.”
I’m revising a novel now and am switching it from 1P to 3P. Who knows where it will end up. For many reasons I think it’s wicked hard to write in 1P, the primary one being it’s so easy to mess up point of view as you try to tell the whole story. That’s not the reason I’m backing off from it now. Why am I switching to 3P? I guess because I think 1P works best when the story calls for tunnel vision. Perhaps this is why it’s such a popular match with YA fiction and the me-me-me of adolescence. I’ve used a 1P narrator in 3.5 of my books. Discount the .5–I used it that time to vary things in a dual-narrator book. But the other books starred girls who were obsessed, blinded to the larger picture because of one thing or another.
My current protagonist is not so focused; to the contrary, she’s very much an observer of things. And the scope of a 3P narration feels better. For now.
Some readers hate 1P narratives. Some writers never work in anything else. Thoughts?