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          First person point of view can feel suffocating at times. You’re stuck, for the most part, in one character’s mind and that character is also your narrator. If that narrator’s a five year old, your vocabulary and word choices will be heavily limited just as if your narrator’s mentally unstable, you’ll be forced to straddle the line of readability and insanity. But you’ve decided that it is this point of view in which this story will reach its full potential.

          You might find yourself spending hours writing a beautiful scene depicting the ripples of a drying lake created by the buzz of a bee’s wings as it hovers above, drawing nectar from an orchid that’s about to snap, only to discover that your character could care less and, is instead, enthralled by the carcass of disemboweled toads in the dirt with the imprints of tire tracks.

          You’ll have to question if you are staying true to your narrator’s voice and perception or if you are merely projecting your own sense of self/morals/beliefs into them. Are you? Are you? Is the “I” in the story you the writer, or is it your narrator? It can become difficult to differentiate it, but you will have to, otherwise your narrator won’t be able to fully come alive and so you may run into situations where readers will understand your character more than you do and they will pause and think to themselves: “I don’t believe John would’ve hit her, no matter how crazy he was. I can see him smashing furniture but the hit came out of nowhere. Why did he hit her? Was it just to add drama?”

          It’s hard, it’s tiresome, and at times it may just be boring. Your five year old narrator may be a bratty kid that spits in everyone’s face and you might just want to kill them off. Your mentally unstable narrator may be too batshit crazy that you wonder if anyone will even understand what they are saying (heck, even you may not understand either). However, you, the writer, is left to hold it altogether, to not kill off the brat and to contain the batshit crazy so your readers don’t just put your story down and all of this will have to be done without compromising the authenticity of your narrators.

          Narrators in first person point of view are selfish. They are the medium to which the story unfolds from but they don’t have to actively participate in it. They might be a coward and not battle in an epic fight that the story hinges on and even though you might try to force them to somehow fit into the scene somewhere, they’ll reject you because it just isn’t in them. And if you do force it, you are compromising your character and something just won’t sit right when you reread the scene. You will have to somehow delicately craft this selfishness and maybe that will require some force. You do plop that character in the middle of the battlefield but follow him in his cowardice, record him as he runs away from the battle, as he trips over dead bodies and perhaps searches them for valuables, as he notices the lone butterfly fluttering amid an array of bullets and perhaps tries to catch it.

           That is the beauty of this first person point of view. It is the most capable in completely immersing a reader into a purely subjective and biased perspective. Everything is filtered through the narrator’s eyes and ears and touch; the feelings, the sensations, what they care about, what they don’t care about, all of it is subject to one single point of view and readers must remember to remember that even the narrator, no matter how nice or honest, can never be 100% trusted because it is all the perspective of one character. Objectiveness? Nope. Omnipotent? Never. This point of view is the most human of all. You will experience a world the way someone else does: with bias that is hard to hide, with personal desires that will overflow, with everything that is willing to be bared open, bared open. At the end, you’ll achieve some level of understanding of the narrator; other times, you might wish you never did.

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