“The 1st Person POV Challenge”
For submission the week ending Sunday, 13th May.
Challenge: To write in the first person POV
Word Count: 1500 words
- Please ensure your story is clearly labelled ‘FGC’ along with the challenge number and the story name in the title of your blog post. Example: [FGC #14] Turning Inward.
- Note the word count at the bottom of your entry.
- Submit your story via the Mr Linky Widget. Stories linked in the comments section will be INELIGIBLE for judging consideration.
- Leave a comment below.
- Tweet your story with the hashtag #FGC2012
- Go forth and enjoy the writerly goodness of your fellow contributors and consider placing a vote in the Readers’ Choice Award and tweeting your favourite story on Friday with #fridayreads or Sunday with #sundayreads
- Readers’ Choice Poll opens 01:00 GMT(UCT) Monday
Unfamiliar with the form or genre? Each week we’ll give you some pointers to help you find your feet. This week, Janelle Ward helps take us inside the mind of the first person narrator.
A first person narrator is a persona narrator who speaks through a particular character. It is most commonly recognized by the “I” but can also address readers in the first person plural, with “we.”
“I” can be you, the writer, of course, but remember, you are writing fiction! As a fiction writer you instead create a character with a distinctive personality. Writing as a first person narrator is truly one of the joys of being a fiction writer, because for an hour, or a day, or a year—however long it takes—you get to create a fictional person, and report from inside that character’s head. There’s no distance between you as writer and that character’s innermost thoughts. You have the chance to intimately reveal the character through your writing. What an incredible opportunity that is!
It can get even more interesting. When creating a first person narrator, you can also decide to tell your readers about things that your character may not be aware of, may be in denial about, or perhaps would like to minimize but cannot. Think of a person whose neuroses become glaringly obvious within moments of meeting them, even though they are unaware of how they are being perceived. Skillful writers can shape this perception of the character for their readers.
There are many ways you can create a first person narrator. A few examples:
You can use your character to report an event from her or his perspective. Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays begins and ends with a first person narrative, though she mixes narrative techniques throughout her book.
You can choose an older-younger narrator, one who tells a story after the passage of time has softened or enhanced their perspective on certain events. Think of stories that start with “When I was a kid…” An example is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which draws heavily on reflections on childhood.
A first person narrator can be presented entirely as a monologue, without dialogue or even scene, and can work exclusively to reveal the narrator’s attitude or personality. An example is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground.