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 on: July 03, 2014, 09:52:55 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by Mikki S

Does anyone have good techniques to share? How to get away from the I factor? Every sentence begining with I want, I feel, I think, I crouched, I saw.

JoJo, you could always buy my book and see how I handled that issue!  Grin But, just in case, here is a short except from the first chapter of Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters:

The new girl stood in front of me with a look of pure hatred on her face, which
had turned as white as an Arctic bunny. I had never seen her before in my life. It
was exactly 8.37 a.m. on Monday, September sixth.

Since my mom says I never tell a story straight through from the beginning, I
guess I’d better back up an hour or so.

The power in our house went off last night, which meant our alarm clocks
didn’t ring. When Mom woke us all up by pounding on our doors, it was already
after seven a.m. Sheesh, tryouts for our eighth grade cheerleading squad were in
fifteen minutes. I leaped out of bed and threw on the first clothes I could find,
which happened to be the shorts and T-shirt I’d had on yesterday to muck the
stalls. They smelled suspiciously of horse poop. Plus, I realized I had a sore throat
and two new zits. Crap, three disasters so far, and I hadn’t even left my bedroom.

I jumped around on one foot and then the other, trying to get my mudsplattered
sneakers tied and finally gave up. I raced down the stairs with laces
flying, bounced into the kitchen, and croaked, “Mom, you’ve got to get me to
school, right now. You know I have tryouts this morning!”

“AJ, what’s wrong with your voice? And what have you got on, you smell like
a barnyard. I can’t leave now, everyone is late and I still have to make lunches.”
She was slapping milk and cereal down on the table for my twin sisters, oblivious
to my crisis.

“Okay, forget it, I’ve gotta go.” I bolted out the kitchen door as Mom yelled,
“Tie your shoelaces before you end up in the ER!”

I ignored the warning and raced down the street, hoping the morning breeze
would blow some of the stink away. Halfway to school I realized I’d forgotten my
backpack. Things were definitely not looking up.

The day was already getting hot when I ran onto the football field. The track
shimmered in the distance, and the grass had a kind of musty smell to it, instead of
its usual freshness. Girls were lined up in front of the coach, who glared at me as I
slipped into line. He thought there was no excuse for tardiness, so before he could
say anything, I tried some damage control.

“Sorry, Coach, but we had a terrible family emergency this morning. I came as
soon as I could.”

He frowned. “Miss Devlin, nothing short of death makes tardiness excusable.
Did someone in your family die?”

“Uh, no sir. It wasn’t that kind of emergency.”

Snickers trickled out behind me.

He glared at me for a moment before going back to his lecture. The girls on
either side of me moved away, and one covered her mouth and nose and gave an
elaborate cough. Apparently, the breeze hadn’t worked.

The coach finished talking and walked down the line of girls eagerly waiting to
show him what they could do. He didn’t say much until he got to me.

“Miss Devlin, you are a disgrace. I trust you will not have another family
emergency anytime soon.” He walked away, leaving behind a whiff of shaving
lotion that smelled like an old wet dog. At least, I hoped it was shaving lotion.

Coach was dividing the girls into groups of three, and I was sure I would be
with my two best friends, Julie and Jaime. Before I could call to them, Coach came
over and grasped my arm with his bony hand.

“Miss Devlin, you are to team up with Miss Baker and Miss Wilkins. Since
you’ve never worked together before, you need to talk about what you’re going to

“But, Coach, I’ve been practicing with Jaime and Julie. We always…”

“Miss Devlin, I am perfectly aware of what you ‘always’ do, but this is not one
of those times. You will team with Miss Baker and Miss Wilkins. Is that clear?”

Aaghh! I couldn’t believe my bad luck. Amberley Baker was a total klutz,
always stumbling and dropping her books and papers all over the place. Lisa
Wilkins was tall, thin as a popsicle stick, and had eyes the color of a glacier.
Amberley’s clumsiness and Lisa’s forever talking about her European experience
of living in Italy for a couple of years made them two of the most unpopular girls
on campus. Now I was stuck with them. But you really don’t even know them, said
that little voice I try to ignore.

“Miss Devlin, I am waiting.” Coach’s voice had gotten quiet, which was
always a bad sign.
The first thing you do, is to eliminate as many dialogue tags as you can. One of my ICL instructors told me that usually about 90% of all dialogue tags are unnecessary to any story and should be eliminated. That's for all POVs, not just 1st person.

Then, you write something about the action, or what is going to happen, or what the MC is thinking, before  you start with "I saw," "I ran," etc. It makes the story more interesting, but the main thing is that you are eliminating the "I 'did something' " at the very beginning of the sentence.

If you have the "I did something" in the middle of the sentence, it takes the reader's mind away from always reading about "I ran, I saw, I etc."

Example: "Halfway to school, I realized I'd forgotten my backpack." The 'halfway to school' wasn't really necessary, but it meant I didn't have to start my sentence with "I realized". And it tells the reader where AJ was when she remembered her backpack. Not really necessary, but it adds a bit to the story line at that point.
Hope this helps.

 on: July 03, 2014, 09:28:34 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by Fancy
Yay! POV! Hopefully I'll be able to participate more this month.  Grin

ditto! I can't seem to stick with one POV, hope to learn a lot this month!

 on: July 03, 2014, 08:20:48 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jojocookie

Does anyone have good techniques to share? How to get away from the I factor? Every sentence begining with I want, I feel, I think, I crouched, I saw.

 on: July 03, 2014, 07:09:15 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by judyr
Nice article! I like the part about not noticing the color of the drapes when you're running for your life.  Grin

 on: July 02, 2014, 03:08:26 PM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by ColoradoKate
Oh, cool! Thanks for sharing that, Jojo.

 on: July 02, 2014, 03:02:22 PM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by jojocookie
Guess what today's post is at Fiction University?




 on: July 02, 2014, 10:48:30 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by judyr
That does make sense, but now I think the third person narrative I like is limited third. So I guess it means the story wouldn't be a lot different than first person. Still, I wonder if editors prefer third person.

 on: July 02, 2014, 10:40:11 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by ColoradoKate
I'm not sure what third limited is,  Huh? but I'm wondering if there's ever a situation where you should change from first person to third.

Third limited, or "deep" third person, as I understand it and have been using it, is third person that's limited to what your POV character sees, knows, and experiences. In that way, it's much like first person, but without the "telly-ness" and the sense of the character talking directly to the reader. So there's a little more narrative distance than there is in first, but the reader is still very much in the POV character's head throughout the story. Like:

Levi hovered in the archway to the living room, shifting his weight from one foot to the other and frowning. Dad knelt and fiddled with the knobs on the new color TV, but it sat there, blank, the picture screen as dead as a doornail.

What if a tube had blown? What if it wouldn't come on? How was Steven going to find out—

Levi's thoughts are right there, still in third person (he doesn't think "I wonder if a tube has blown"), but right there. Sometimes I think it works. Sometimes I don't.  Grin

I changed that story from first to third because, honestly, I had a critique partner challenge me to do it, and I thought it might work better. (I think she's sorry now... )

But in general, you might change from first to third when you realize that...
--you need to show stuff that the POV character can't be there for (in which case it wouldn't be a close third)
--you find yourself telling rather than showing the whole story, as if the first-person POV character is sitting there, after it's all over, telling it to the reader
--you decide the super-immediate, chatty, in-your-face voice that first person often end up with doesn't suit the themes or mood of your story
--you want the reader to have a little more distance from the POV character because... I don't know... because something really bad is going to happen to him or her?

 on: July 02, 2014, 08:52:53 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by Mikki S
My first and third novels are in 3rd person POV, my second is in 1st person.

The big problem in writing in 1st person is that the entire story must be told from only what that person can see and hear realistically, and often that is hard to do. In my critique group, we had one person who was writing a really good novel in 1st person, but she couldn't keep the POV accurately. There was always something going on or someone saying something that the MC could not possibly have seen or heard.

First person POV is very limiting, as I found out. Your MC ALWAYS has to be in the front line of the story, and there are times when that becomes very artificial in terms of the story line. If your character cannot see, hear, smell, touch, taste, think, feel, or know something, then whatever that "something" is can't be used.

 on: July 02, 2014, 07:21:27 AM 
Started by ColoradoKate - Last post by judyr
I'm not sure what third limited is,  Huh? but I'm wondering if there's ever a situation where you should change from first person to third.

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