But I've specifically been looking for something that talked about writing in first person POV.
And I found a super good article on Pinterest the other day. (By the way, follow me on Pinterest for lots of good writing posts…there are all kinds of goodies on there J)
I've written one novella (Whisper) in first person. I really liked working in that POV and my WIP, Thunder, is also in first person. It helped me, as a writer, write better because I was writing through the character's eyes. (I know, way too many 'writes' in there, right?) And personally, I've always enjoyed reading first person POV novels if they were well written.
Now, with Whisper, I had quite a bit of dialogue in there which really helped carry the story.
With my new book project, Be Still My Soul, there is almost no dialogue. Uhhh….yeah, it's been interesting. There are a few spots where Adah is with other people, so there is some dialogue, and toward the end of the book there is quite a bit, but 90% of the time, she is absolutely alone.
I was reading through the beginning part of the book a few days ago and I realized something was missing….I couldn't figure out what it was, I just knew that something wasn't fitting together and the story was a bit clunky.
And that's a big problem.
The biggest issue with first person is that a lot of times it sounds clunky and awkward. I managed to do fairly well with Whisper, but I could tell BSMS was going to need a lot of work to smooth it all out.
The only problem was, no matter how many times I read over a chapter, I couldn't figure out exactly how to fix it. Something wasn't clicking.
Then I found this article on writing in first person POV!!!
As I read through the article, I realized the writer was spelling out exactly what I had been noticing in my book. So for those of who are working on writing a book in first person POV, or think you might in the future, or know someone who is struggling with their project, read on!
Now, my dad is an auctioneer and so is my brother and uncle. I grew up hearing the auction chant (no, do not ask me to do it for you…your ears will hurt!) and to this day, when I go to a live auction or just hear my dad mumbling the chant under his breath, I love dissecting what they are saying. It's always fun to go to auctions with new auction goers…it always astounds them that I can understand what is being said.
Okay, so what does auctioneering have to do with writing books?
When an auctioneer is chanting the numbers, he isn't just saying the numbers…he's using filler words. And yes, he is actually saying words (most of the time) and not just making weird sounds!
If he were to just call out the numbers, it would sound extremely monotone and very boring. It would be very difficult to keep the crowd's attention, though it does make it easier to understand in some cases.
So he uses filler words to blend everything together and make that nice chant.
You're probably still wondering what on earth an auctioneer's chanting has to do with writing, specifically first person POV, which is what we are supposed to be discussing!
We use filler words all the time in our writing….we just don't realize it. And there is a place for filler words, but in first person POV, using filler words makes your story clunky real fast.
So unlike the auctioneer, who needs to use filler words to make his chant sound good, we need to cut some of these filler words out. (This goes for all POV, not just first person, but it is more noticeable in these kinds of books.)
Here is a great example from this article (mentioned above):
"Filter words can be difficult to see at first, but once you catch them, it becomes second nature. “I heard the music start up, tinny and spooky and weird,” vs. “The music started up, tinny and spooky and weird.” One is outside, watching him listen; the other is inside his head, hearing it with him."
Wow. I realized after I read that paragraph, that my whole manuscript is full of this…no wonder it's clunky! But I'm so pleased that I now know what the problem is. I was at a dead end before because I couldn't identify the problem. The problem is identified, which means I can work on fixing it and concentrate on making a habit out catching filler words as I write.
If you want more details (and a much better explanation) click here to read the full article.
Hopefully this all made sense…I threw this post together at ten o'clock last night after a very long day, so my apologies for any grievous errors!
Have you encountered this problem before, either in a book you read or a writing project? Do you have anything to add…other tips for first person POV writing?
Be sure to join us again on Wednesday for a very exciting announcement!