Saturday, February 25, 2012
In the First Person
I believe there are some people who are just plain POV blind just like there are people who can't see the color blue. Just when I think I have it right, someone (usually a long-suffering editor or critique partner) will point out that--no--I don't have it right.
A couple months ago I embarked on a new venture. I started a story in first person. And for the very first time, I could actually "see" the difference. "I" as the narrator can only know certain information. And everyone else cannot know or see what I perceive or know. That might seem like a simple concept.
I'm writing a love scene. Can I just say it's very odd to write such a scene from a personal viewpoint? For some reason it brings an immediacy to the actions and thoughts of my female character that I've never experienced before as a writer.
No matter how...out there...erotic romance writers might appear to be, there's still a barrier between them and their characters when they're writing in third person. (By the way, is there a second person POV? If so, how does that work?) Anyway, moving along. In first person you can freely describe--or not--all the feelings, emotions, surroundings your character is experiencing. Generally, this is pretty tame stuff.
But what happens when you start describing sex? Average humans can barely acknowledge they even participate in the activity, let alone discuss what they're actually feeling or any fantasy they might want to try out. In first person, the writer is liberated in a truly scary fashion. It's kind of like writing a diary you intend to burn.
Write anything down you want and figure out whether you'll delete it later. I don't know what I'll keep. But I've learned a lot about POV. I suspect when I finish this story, someone will tell me--no--I still don't have it right. Heh. How will they know?
After all, it's all my point of view.