Writing in the First Person POV

There was a time I swore I would never write First Person POV outside of my own journal. To me, the lines between author and character blurred far too much, which is likely because my first attempts at writing were done in this vein. Back in the 6th Grade – yes, that’s when I first started scribbling stories down – it was easy to write that way because I was the hero.

Peeping out the window during the storm.

I was the warrior princess scaling the mountainside, intent on visiting the wizard.

I was the dragon slayer.

And the character had no true development because my still-developing brain was focused on the adventure and not the true story. Because at the heart of every story is a character who must grow in some way. If that growth does not happen, you have cool set pieces and neat action sequences, but no real story.

That isn’t to say I haven’t tried first person POV since abandoning it as an endeavor of my youth. Persona’s first drafts were done in the first person. I’m not sure why I changed it, other than I thought a requirement of “real stories” that it be in the third person limited.

Two decades later and I’m sitting before my computer, writing in first person POV with a character named Nora Grayson who is most assuredly her own person. While I have given her empathy as her superpower because I am a deeply empathetic person, that is really the only thing that I can point to and say for certain it came from me. And she is growing.

Not only that, but I find her delightful.

So delightful that I am far and away over my projected word count. I enjoy lingering with her late into the evening, when I should have closed up my laptop and called it a day. The entire world she is seeped into is a place I want to visit, which admittedly isn’t difficult because who doesn’t want to visit the land of Fairy?

Point of View is just another tool in the writer’s toolbox, and I’m glad to have finally learned this lesson. I cannot imagine Nora’s books without her clear voice on the page, and while there are arguments to be made that adult novels steer away from the first person, what it ultimately comes down to is what story you’re telling. When taken as a whole, this series of books could not be told without Nora as the central “I” shown on the page.

Happy Writing, everyone.

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