Some people love first person some people hate it. Either way you’re using it today.
[Listen to me talk about this prompt on Anchor.fm]
Write a story in the first person
- In many ways, first person is the most natural way to tell a story because it’s how we tell stories all day long. “How was your commute?” “Where did you park?” “What did you do this weekend?” All of these questions invite stories. You answer them every day, in the first person.Hopefully, as a storyteller, have good answers to those questions and can entertain the people around you, spinning yarns and put your everyday stories to good use. Or maybe you’re the type of person who hates those questions and clams up because you’d rather be alone with a pencil. Either way you do know how to tell a story in the first person.
- The most important thing to remember about first-person is that the reader is only ever privy to the thoughts of the person telling the story. They can infer, from other people other people’s expressions, what they’re feeling, but you can’t know for certain. You can’t tell me exactly what your spouse was thinking when you took a wrong turn. You can tell me what they said and how they said it….
- Think of the character whose head you would like to get inside. It can be somebody you already understand, or it can be someone you don’t yet understand. (Picking a politician from a party you don’t support support, or one of their supporters, is an obvious way of finding a character that you simply don’t understand).
- Take one tiny incident from this character’s life. Have them describe the incident and the effect it had on them. Show us that the effect. Walk us through it.
- The character can be self-aware or self delusional or mixture of the two.
- There’s a growing trend to write first person present tense. It’s good for keeping tension high if we don’t know whether the characters going to survive at the end of the thriller, but it can feel a little foreign. Feel free to stick with past tense.
- If you’re having trouble coming up with this style, browse some books that are written this way: thrillers and mysteries, young adult fiction chick lit. Or read a sample of To Kill A Mockingbird.
Leave a comment and tell us how you’re getting on with the challenge.