Me, Myelf, I and Did I Mention I?

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My WIP is demanding to be written in first person. Frightening. In fact, there are dueling main characters who both demand to be in first person. Horror.

I have never written fiction in first person. Essays? Sure. Creative non-fiction. OK. Fiction? That sound is me running from the room.

When I first reached out to find other people who wrote, I was in middle school. Most of my writing peers only wrote in first person. I thought that was odd. They thought it was odd that I wouldn’t. It’s supposed to be such a natural way to write.

It should be the easiest thing in the world, so I don’t know why I have such a problem with it. I experience life first person. I talk to friends in first person. The journals I used to write were in first person. My blog is in first person. But give me a fictional character and I freeze.

Serendipitously, the last three books I picked up were all in first person, and two of them had two first-person narrators. While I’m feeling more comfortable with this POV, I’m afraid that too many of my sentences start with “I.”

I think (there I go) that may be part of my problem. I like (and again!) to be behind the scenes…that’s why I write. Last week, I had to give a presentation at work and it was all I could do not to hide behind the podium. Write the speech? No problem. Give the speech? Well, uh.

Even though I’m writing fiction someone else’s voice, I still feel exposed. Every time a sentence starts with “I,” I scrutinize it. It there a better way to say it? A way the “I” can hide?

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2 thoughts on “Me, Myelf, I and Did I Mention I?

  1. I also had a block about 1st person POV. The best way to overcome it is to recognize they are not you. Envision them as characters in a play. You are typing out what they’d say.

    If you have too many sentences starting with “I,” edit them out later by varying sentence structure, etc.

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