Writing from First Person Perspective

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  • #122198
    Mel
    @melodyjoy

    Hello!

    Writing in first person is by far my favorite way to write. But it definitely comes with some challenges. One big question:

    When writing in first person, do you incorporate scenes that the main character is not involved in? Because, in essence, your character wouldn’t know what had happened.
    But what if that scene is essential to your plot? How would you add it in?

    Life is short, smile while you still have teeth!

    #122203
    Zee
    @zee

    You have the same challenge when writing from a limited third person perspective, because unless you’re using more than one or two points of view, there’s bound to be important action happening where the main character is not.

    First of all, you have to ask yourself, how important is this scene/event going to be to the story? If it’s not vital, your first person perspective gives you a great excuse to cut it out, or at the very least to pare it down to the information that’s really crucial.

    IF you really do need it, there are ways. In one book, an important plot point was the occupation of a certain city by peacekeeping forces. My main character wasn’t there, but she watched footage of the event on TV.

    At other times, I’ve had secondary/supporting characters play the role of info bringers to the main character. For example, one main character wasn’t present for an important family discussion, but her brother was, so she learns the information from him (by eavesdropping on a conversation she wasn’t meant to hear, I might add.)

    Depending on the time period or genre, you could use telephone calls, letters, visits from relatives, magical communication devices, time travel…the possibilities are endless.

    #122299
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @melodyjoy

    Hey there! @zee has given you some great advice already, but I just thought I’d throw my two cents in.

    When writing in first person, you are pretty limited to what the MC knows and sees, but there’s heaps of ways to get around it, depending on the context of your story. The Hunger Games for example, is told in first person by Katniss but she sees things she doesn’t have any other way to know about through television broadcasts and propaganda videos, like her being able to see Peeta and what has happened to him in the final book. She also sees old recordings of previous Hunger Games to find out about the pasts of several of her allies and friends.

    Another example is in Harry Potter. Harry Potter is told in limited third person, which is pretty much the same as first person. Rowling deals with the problem by designating specific chapters (such as the first chapter) for seeing other people at work, for example Dumbledore and McGonagall in the first book) or Harry is allowed to see things through magical means, such as the prophetic dreams he has occasionally, or the memories that are stored in magical objects.

    So it can be done,  it just requires some creativity.

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

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