It’s I! Or is it she?
As mentioned last week, I’m now
obsessing over planning my next manuscript. Today’s obsession, what point of view (POV), tense, etc. These choices will have great impact on the overall tone and voice of the narrator and by extension, the novel.
First person (I) is and has been very popular for quite a few years now. Generally speaking, I prefer third (she). I like the distance that third person offers, with the flexibility to draw in close. First person, in my opinion, too often feels breathless. It’s the acquaintance you run into on your way home who you smile when you recognize them, “Oh, how nice, I can’t remember why I lost touch with Mr Z.”
Five minutes into it, “I’m glad to hear how he is, what’s going on in his life.” Ten minutes into it, “This has been lovely, but I really have to pee.” Twenty brain-numbing, eyes-twitching minutes later, “This is why I stopped returning his calls. For the love of God, make it stop!”
Second person is brilliant when it’s done well, but very few know how to do it well, and I have my doubts about my own ability. The whole goal in fiction is the suspension of disbelief. Pulling that off while directly addressing the reader? Might well be beyond my pay grade.
Wondering why I’m having this angst if these are my thoughts on POV? Me too. Except I have a certain way of writing, getting started. There’s always a very clear opening scene in my head, and I write it. This scene may or may not remain the opening, may or may not end up deleted, but it’s what gets my fingers clicking on the keyboard. Or pencil to paper, if it’s been too long since I’ve last written. The problem is the opening scene I’m “seeing” for this story is in first person. Fine if this was a short story, but I don’t know that I want to write an entire novel with that “I” voice.
And just because I know you’re all dying to know about the rest of this Fringey writing process, I usually have a song that is going through my head as I’m planning a new story. Here’s this one:
Hear that bass track? That’s the framework I’m seeing, the pacing. A little dark, a little ominous, but it keeps moving forward with that rhythm.