Thursday, February 02, 2006

First person

I have switched my novel from third to first person and have been writing torrents ever since. I know why I've resisted first person for so long--it seemed like cheating because it's always felt so much easier. I still find it awkward to write about myself in autobiographical mode (maybe a reason for starting this blog), but I have little trouble inserting myself into a character and yammering on. I wonder if that's true for other writers, or if it's especially true for me because of my academic background. Third person offers a distant and therefore analytical stance, meaning I feel compelled to come up with astonishing metaphors and grandiose claims because I'm the voice of god. And the language turns to kudzu. In first person I write the way I think the person would talk, and that makes the language more linear. The character's not trying to impress the readers, or if she is, it's a joke that I can play with. Less is at stake for me in playing a character. So while first person is more limiting in scope, it's freeing in language and perception.

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