Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Story - first vs third person

A weird thing happened that I must document. I've been writing a story for my 7 year old nephew - it's not erotic ;) It has dragons and dinosaurs and sword fights and a talking dog or two!

When I started this story, I began writing it in third person past tense. This isn't how I normally write but off i went, quite happily in this manner. For the first 2 chapters, all went well. This is about 4K. The boy and his talking dog, talked, roamed the forest, were chased by a dinosaur, then had to fight the dinosaur to get away. All happy.

Then I started Chapter 3. I decided we should have a quest and rather than remove my nephew's beloved dog, I introduced another boy and his dog. I thought a dragon could sweep down and catch the other boy's dog in its claws and then the two boys and one dog would have to go to save the dog. All good...

Until the new boy and my nephew began to chat. Suddenly, I switched to first person, present tense!

OMG. Why?

What happened? I was writing away, in a notebook not on the computer, and I didn't have a break or anything. I was scribbling in a stream, when I suddenly realised I changed to "I". I began to identify with the initial boy (my nephew). I got into his head to keep the story in his POV. I had to see the world from his perspective and not the other kids, so I went into his head - totally!

And that makes sense. Before there was only one boy to see there are two, and I have to stick in one head.

When I first started this writing caper, I wrote in omniscient POV - the story teller, all seeing, all knowing. Which made sense because as a scientist, my reports and stuff were all written in this manner (add in jargon and carefully constructed sentences!). To write novels, especially in the romance genre, I had to step out of omniscient and move to deep POV...but not head hop.

This no head hopping was such a damn challenge. I did it constantly without even noticing. But when I wrote in first person, the world became alive and I could remain in one head.

And in this kid's story, when there was just one kid and a dog, I was never tempted to the dog's POV. But throw in another kid, and I'm head hopping. My sub-conscious knows this, so it takes me to first person. And my eyes are opened! I've worked something out that has alluded me for 8 years :)

My brain is a weird, weird thing.

Do you have any weird things like this happen when you're writing?


  1. Nothing that I can particularly remember. But I did smile when I read that you're not writing erotica for your nephew Cate!

    1. LOL! Yes, I thought that might cause some family ruckus! :)

      Cate xo