Saturday, 31 October 2009

first or third?

A few days ago I tweeted something like this: aaarrrrrrgggh, first or third person? Coin suggests... first.

Of course I was talking about the novel I plan to write during NaNoWriMo. Usually it would have been a no-brainer as I would have assumed first person without a second thought. But I toyed with the idea of using several of the character's points of view and being me, had difficulty making the decision.

I went with first, as the tweet suggested, and even though the decision was made, I was surprised with the response, as if first person is writer-suicide. And I just don't get it.

To me, writing in third person is tough. Particularly in the way I suggested in this case, but even if limited to the main character. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever used third person without a good reason. But feedback suggested one should only choose first if there's a good reason.

Now this fascinates me. Sure, I know all the arguments for and against each case, but I've always felt that in general, first is the best choice. For me anyway.

What about you? Do you prefer first or third? Anyone else toss a coin to help them decide?

In other news, I know I'm supposed to be tucked away by the Murray somewhere, but plans are meant to be broken, right? The time I actually look forward to going camping, disaster approaches and... just when it's time to grab those last things and head off, one child starts to vomit.

But, all is not lost, as hubby took the other two, and while he's sure to do an adequate job of restocking the tokay shelf, I should get off to an excellent NaNo start. Win-Win really. Especially as Hamish has managed to keep an afternoon snack (of plain toast) and a bowl of (plain) pasta where it belongs.


Carolyn said...

I find the story lets me know which POV to use, without me even thinking about it. Having said that, I have to think more in the future I think. The reason for this change is that I have just finished reading a first novel that used both first and third, and it was so beautifully done, I was halfway through the novel before I realised how clever the writer was being - I was too wrapped up in the Story to think about the Writing. The author is Helen Fitzgerald and the book is Dead Lovely - I strongly recommend you read it. Anyone who writes and goes camping and has children should read this book. In fact everyone should read it. A great, suspenseful and intriguing novel. The twists and turns were amazing.

Tiggy Johnson said...

Thanks Carolyn, will have to look that one up, although not this month ;) Sounds like she did an especially good job if you didn't even notice til halfway.

Not too sure I fit into the 'goes camping' category at the moment.

Carolyn said...

NaNoWriMo takes precedence over all. I did my own version last year, but in June. Still not entirely sure what to do with the story, but I got another clue on a blog today.

I'm writing poetry more these days. Working on a collection. Poems are so much quicker to get from first draft to seventh draft, workshopped and sent off!

Tiggy Johnson said...

I've heard around the traps that some people are doing some challenge to write a new poem every day this month.

Good luck with the collection.