Writing in First Person

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Writing a story in first person narrative is hard or so I’ve been told. Luckily no one told me this when I wrote Ursa Kane. At the time, I had absolutely no clue that anyone ever had a problem with this style of writing. Having read several published authors works written in first person I knew that the style was saleable but after reading some stories from new authors I can now understand a few of the problems.

Especially when you come across a story that reads more like Narcissistic ‘Dragnet’. Does anyone remember that show? “The facts ma’am. Just the facts.”

So, here’s my suggestion for anybody who wants to write first person narrative.

First, remember that the character is telling the story and they are basically carrying on a conversation with the reader. – The next time you’re in a conversation with a friend, coworker, parent or the lady that you’re trying to pick up at the coffee shop down the street. Pay Attention to how you are talking to that person, your words and how you are speaking.
(Granted, how they’re talking to you and what’s going on around you is also important, for translating real life in to your writing is a given for any writer but your speech pattern at the moment is what you want to dissect here.)

Second, after you write your story go through and circle all the ‘I’s (and count them.). – If your hand starts cramping after the first page and can’t keep track of the count, you know you have a serious problem.

Third, read your story aloud and see how it flows. Also, have someone else read it back to you. – Listening to someone read it, who has no idea what the story is about can give you a totally different perspective on your story. Especially when it comes to misspellings or missing words and I would strongly suggest this for any style of writing.

I hope this helps and you keep writing.

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About Stacy Bender

Author of Ursa Kane and the Sav'ine series.
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