Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Irina Shapiro – Writing in First Person (or Third)

Finding Your Voice: Writing in First Person (or Third)

by Irina Shapiro

I or she – that is the question!  As a reader, I’ve read plenty of books that are told from the first person or the third person perspective, but it wasn’t until I started writing my own books that I was confronted with the question of how I wanted to present my story.  I’ve written both in the first person and in the third, and was surprised to find that some readers were put off by the first person narrative.  Now this was puzzling.  Why would anyone find that less preferable?

My honest answer is that I think it makes them feel like voyeurs.  When writing in the first person, I can express my feelings with more depth and insight, and create raw emotion in readers since there’s no barrier between the heroine of my story and her audience.  I can express desires and feelings that I might not be able to capture as profoundly if I were telling a story from someone else’s perspective.  It makes the reader feel as though they were reading someone’s diary when no one was looking, or peeking into someone’s window or a keyhole, curious to see events that they shouldn’t be privy to.   We all wish to be a fly on the wall at times, eager to know what’s really going on in someone’s mind or life, but how would we feel if we actually got the chance?  I think most of us would feel a little guilty, perhaps even ashamed of the thrill of watching or hearing the forbidden.

As a writer, that’s exactly how I want my readers to feel.  I want them to experience the raw emotions of love, loss, and desire, and feel that thrill tinged with shame when feeling as if they are right there in the room when the heroine is in the throws of passion or in a fit of despair.  The main point is that I want them to feel, and it’s easier to do that when the comfortable distance of a third person narrative is stripped away, and all that’s left is the voice of the character, whispering into their ear, taking them by the hand and leading them deeper and deeper into her world, and leaving them with a terrible sense of loss when her story is done.

The Hands of Time

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Genre - Time Travel Romance/Fantasy

Rating – R

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