Monday, March 3, 2014

“I don’t know who I am.”

Isn’t it funny how we can go almost our whole lives thinking we dislike something, only to discover we like it quite a lot? For 20 years of my life I thought I didn’t like cheesecake. Then one day I gave it a shot. Guess what? I now sing ballads with my little sis about our love for cheesecake. Give me a slice and you’ll have a very happy Christine.

Strawberry Cheesecake

I tend to do this a lot in life. A few years ago, if you asked me do I like sci-fi, I would have made a face and given you an emphatic, “No.” But now? Sci-fi is cool! Now, I’m still picky with my sci-fi. I’m not a Star Trek sort of gal (sorry, trekkies) but at the mention of Doctor Who I’ll squeal like a 4 year old in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart.

Doctor Who Excitement

My tastes in things have broaden greatly as I’ve gotten older. Used to my reading material was strictly fantasy, but these days I’ve been apt to pick up some different genres now and again. (You still can’t beat fantasy though.)

Last year I wrote a steampunk, time travel story. The first non-medieval, fantasy story I’ve ever attempted. (With the exception of this modern story about a girl and her horse I wrote when I was 9 but. . .) It’s strange enough for me to veer away from fantasy with reading, but to write something different? Absurd bits of absurdity! And NOW I’m writing a superpower, dystopian, sci-fi novel. Which brings me to my main point. . .

This book I’m writing, Fallen Matter, is set in first person, as I mentioned in this post. I also mentioned in said post how I’ve always detested first person. Detested it! I’m always so disappointed when I find an intriguing book only to discover it’s in first person. I’m not sure what puts me off so with first person. It feels so. . .limited. You can only ever see through the point-of-view (POV) of one character. I’ve always enjoyed multi-POV books, seeing a broader picture. FP feels confined, I didn’t like that. I knew I would never, ever, ever write in FP.

Then Fallen Matter happened. I first got the idea for a prologue for it, and the words kept coming out in first person inside my head. No matter how hard I tried to force it into third person, it just wouldn’t do. It demanded to be FP. So, with a huff of frustration, I resented and started writing.

“Huh, this isn’t so bad.”

The words flowed so freely. I wasn’t confined, I was soaring through the infinite human brain. I didn’t feel limited at all as I began my story. In fact, being able to be right inside the mind of my main character gave me a chance to picture her circumstances exactly as she did, to feel her pain and confusion, and describe it far more accurately than if I was writing in the disconnected way of third person. I was seeing the world through her eyes. I was her.

BreighlyFallen Matter’s MC, Breighly

Intimate. That’s what writing in first person is. There’s an intimacy there that I’ve never experienced with third person. You and your main character are of one mind—feeling, seeing, experiencing all the same things. With my other characters, I feel sorry for them, I cringe when they get hurt, tear up when tragedy strikes them, but it has always been like viewing their adventures through a screen. When I write in FP, it’s as if the adventure is happening to me. All the pain and sorrow strikes me. And as such, my writing has far more feeling behind it I think.

That very thing I vowed to never do, is the very thing that has improved my writing. Isn’t life funny?

Now that I’ve personally experienced writing in FP, felt that deep connection with the character, I’ve discovered FP is actually really nice in all forms. The unthinkable happened the other day. I picked up a book I had bought at a secondhand bookstore and really knew nothing about, cracked open the cover, and glanced at the first page. Then, I saw. This book was in first person. And you know what my first thought was? “Oh, cool. I can’t wait to start reading.” WHAT? Can it be so?! After my thought, I realized what I had done. Normally, I would have groaned in disappointment, but instead I was genuinely excited. It happened. I learned to like FP. Shock of all shocks! Who was this girl enjoying FP?!

I don't know who I am

I haven’t completely converted though. I do think I still prefer third person a little bit more. You still can have that deep connection with characters. Most books are still written from a specific person’s POV, whether in TP or FP.  But there’s just something special about really seeing the world through their eyes. Still though, TP is great, and I think I’ll always love it more. At least for reading, it’s yet to be determined if I find writing in FP more enjoyable. I think a good dose of both is best. But for right now, I’m very, very much enjoying FP.

So take it from me, folks, the girl who has always been far too frightened as well as stubborn to venture out from her handful of interests. Try new things. You might be surprises.

Keep trying new things

What about you? Do you prefer third person or first person? A little mix of both?

(The post title is kind of the main quote from Fallen Matter because the MC has no memory and can’t figure out who she is. I thought it was fitting.)


  1. This is me. From start to finish. Or just about. I don't like cheesecake (yet). And I've become a science fiction fan in the last year. Yay, Star Wars! :)

    Really, I think that's the most fun thing about writing. It's a learning experience more than anything else. You discover more about yourself while writing, and you end up finding out things about yourself that you never would have finding before. Oh, the awesomeness of being a writer! :D

    1. Ouch... *found out before. Maybe I should check my comments before posting them. Sorry, Lauri... you made me too excited. ;)

    2. We are so alike! Although...I have to admit...*whispers* I don't actually like Star Wars. *ducks away from angry fans* Still though, there's a lot of sci-fi I do find fascinating, it just depends on what it is. And you should give cheesecake another try, you might be surprised. ;)

      YES YES YES. EXACTLY. I was thinking that very exact thing while writing this post. It IS a learning experience. I discover so many things about myself through the writing venture. Writing is the best!

      Oh, girl, I'm the typo queen, as you've probably found out by now. I do not judge typos.

  2. Great post, Lauri! This. Is. Me! However, I've ALWAYS loved cheesecake! So much so, that I wrote a poem a couple years ago. Heheh. . . (link: And I can definitely relate to not liking first person (no offense to anyone!). Actually, I still don't. *cough* I'm up for trying any new books with FP, though. I'm not prejudiced! (I do have to say if I had to choose a favorite novel in FP, it would be Louis L'Amour's Ride the River. :D)

    1. Thank you! Oh my goodness gracious! *diiiiies* That poem! It's perfect!!! You are so funny, Sarah! *dies again* I find it hilarious that you're writing poems for cheesecake and my sister and I are making songs about it. The cheesecake love runs deep.

      Hey, no shame in that. I'm shocked I actually am learning to like first person. That is something I NEVER thought would happen. I've shamefully never even heard of Ride the River. I might have to check it out!

  3. I actually still don't like cheese cake *hides* I have tried it often enough but I never liked the way it tasted and I really hate the texture....
    Also I prefer third person to first person.
    I like reading either well enough and I try to write first person but when I write in first person tenses always get mixed up and I accidentally shift back to third person anyway so I like third person better...
    It is great that you learned to love first person though!


      You don't have to like cheesecake! Trust me, I'm like the most finicky eater ever. There's basically only a handful of foods I like period. It's a miracle I like cheesecake, because I hardly like anything!

      I think I'll probably always like third person over first person. At least I don't HATE first person anymore though. XD
      Oh my goodness, I get the tenses all mixed up writing FP, too! When I first started this new book my writing kept turning into present tense for some crazy reason. Present tense is SO weird, I don't know why I kept writing it like that accidentally. I think I'm getting the hang of it, but it's still a learning experience. After writing third person for half my life it's a bit difficult switching!

    2. I am a sort of picky eater (but when you have to eat somewhere else a lot and don't want to be rude you are forced to try a ton of things and they sort of grow on you^^ )

      Not hating first person is really good! There are a lot of stories you would miss if you avoided first person at all costs!
      Actually I like present tense better for first person because if feels less certain that the person will survive. but at the same time I agree! Present tense is really weird and I always switch back to past tense by accident!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...