Today as I scrolled through Facebook, I came upon a post by someone named Emily. It read…
Right before I set out to start my first novel, I heard that first person POW is considered “amateurish” or “only for young adult” in the literary world, and because of that, I wrote in the third person, even though it’s much harder for me. Nearing the end of my book now, I’m still struggling wit my POV choice. Thoughts? It’s speculative fiction with a female protagonist.”Emily Hann-> Canada Writes (Facebook Group).
This really pissed me off because some take that sort of advice to heart and ruin their own voice.
To the person who called her choice “amateurish” –shame on you. What gives you the right to be judge and jury over someone else’s creative work.
If someone has given you similar pokes of their ultimate wisdom, walk away.
Words of Advice
If someone gives you advice that is more judgmental than helpful–first person is amateurish or third person is better… Nod politely to acknowledge the small mindedness of such remarks and then carry-on and do what you want.
Creative Writing implies a certain amount of manipulation of words, scenes, characters… how you do that is totally up to you. You, the writer, need to feel it and do it–your way.
I want to remind you all, writing is not a competitive sport. It’s something we all love, but you can’t do what I do, and I can’t do what you do. As a result, we should lift each other up and celebrating the accomplishment of all. Don’t put down other people’s creative choice because it doesn’t fit with yours, that’s not fair.
We as creatives, tend to be on the sensitive side and can easily crawl back into our shell to hide if given harsh criticism or rejection. Keep that in mind when you speak to other writers. And writers, if you’re seeking advice, recognize that it may not suit your style and personality.
The Rules of Writing
Read them. Commit them to memory. Write some down or commit to memory. Go do it your way.
There are many so called “rules” saying oh…you have to do it this way….Eeeekkk NO! Don’t do that, it’s all wrong. gimme a break.
Kick ’em all to the curve and write what you want in the manner or POV that suits you.
Unless you are being instructed by your agent or signed publisher, take it all with a grain of salt.
Are there any absolute rules in the the writing world? Again, it depends on who you ask. Everything is so flipping’ arbitrary and sometimes seems based on a whim, while at other times a reason is provided that makes sense.
My writing doesn’t fit into the “literary” world but it slips quite nicely into the contemporary writing that is popular with the masses. Teach yourself the difference. The prose, the style, the rules…typical of literary writing. They differ a lot.
Now that doesn’t mean that what I call contemporary writing doesn’t have it’s rules. There’s still this stuff called grammar, show don’t tell, and active vs passive writing–stuff like that–but those things can be edited and learned.
Follow Your Gut
As writers, we have a mind that is strong on the vision we’ve created. Does that sound right?
Often we’ll give over to the muse and the story seems to write itself.
When there is a constant struggle then something is out of sync. Maybe the POV. If it fights against our nature then the struggle is worse, and the true character that’s in you brain won’t be translated onto the page.
Types of Point Of View
- First Person: This is the type of story told from the main protagonist and uses the pronoun “I”. The reader sees and feels things as though they are that character. I just completed a novel with two characters, both written in first person. They are narrating their part of the story and overlap at times which offers conflict and tension as they witness and “feel” the others actions. It’s fun to play with pov.
2. Second Person: This type of writing uses the pronoun of you and isn’t very common in novels. I use it a lot in my blogs or personal non-fiction writing.
3. Third Person: The person telling the story uses the pronouns of he/she. This offers up a lot of power as the narrator (author) has the ability to make anything happen and can do more puppet mastery on the characters. There is Third Person Omniscient and Third Person Limited.
If you want to go deeper into the different POVs go for it. For me, I pick one and play with it. If I can ‘feel’ that character and start to build the momentum of a story arc, then I’ll fly with it.
Remember, You’re Making the Rules
You may want to write one character in First and all the other characters in Third. That gives you, the narrator and ultimate character creator, a lot of leeway to play and develop tension and conflict.
While choosing the POV for your work is important, I hope you realize how much power you have as the writer. You’re the one in charge of your work.
This doesn’t excuse you from bad writing.
You still need to hone the craft and be open to learning how to make your sentences tighter and the work easier to read. But even with that being said, the work is a reflection back on you. Work with another professional or an editor to make it the best it can be.
Best of Luck as You Move Forward
As you begin to write, you’ll get a lot of unsolicited advice. Take what you want and leave the rest. There are many talented writers out there that have developed their own style and their own absolutes, but you get to chose whether they apply to you and your work.
Have fun. Be You.