Over in my LJ, I have started to write up pet writing hates as I think of them. Today’s is First Person Fiction.
It took a long time before I could bring myself to read first person fiction. Why? Mostly because when I was younger, I’d read it and think, ‘But I don’t empathize with you at all, I’m not you’ — (I used to take the ‘I’ rather literally as a young one).
As I became wiser (code for older, aged, worn… etc), I thought I should ‘give it a go’. For some reason, writing it is harder than reading it, for me. Now, there are no problems with me reading first person fiction. I am perhaps a little harder on it, but that’s because the biggest issue I have with it is actually with the word ‘I’.
‘I rode to the house on the corner of the street today and stood on the footpath, looking at it. I thought it looked rather menacing and I decided I shouldn’t go inside. The clouds hung over the roof ominously, surely a sign from God, so I climbed on my bike and rode home, thinking about how much of a coward I am.’
I read a piece recently that used ‘I’ more than the above example.
My advice, when you write first person, is think about how else you could word it.
‘The house on the corner of the street looked ominous. Clouds had gathered over its rooftop, the grey a smothering blanket. A sign from God. Turning my bike around, I headed for home, muttering about the coward I had become.’
I know which one I prefer.