In order to fully focus on NaNoWriMo 2022, I had to put aside a story I’d been working on haphazardly since May of the same year. It was a fun little story – one that could easily become a full book on its own, but also did well just to tell in snippets. This sort of old fashioned serialized storytelling has been a boon for me lately. It helps keep me writing when I might otherwise be stressing about chapter length, completing story arcs, etc.
Anyway, when I began Saga’s story, I told it in first person. It helped to show her inner voice, her inner thoughts, which was particularly important as she struggled to grasp the outside world and the war that was threatening. However, even after re-reading a bit to get me back on track before continuing her story, I switched to third person. I didn’t even realize what I’d done until I was another two short chapters into her story.
Now comes the great decision point. Do I change the last two chapters and switch back to first person? It would certainly be the easiest option. Or do I change the beginning of her tale, take a step back and offer a completely different perspective to how the tale of Saga unfolds?
This got me thinking about why I choose first or third person. Two of my main characters – who both officially have completed arcs (at least in very rough draft versions, albeit one needs a complete and total re-write of her second book, but I digress) were told in first person. For one, I really wanted to fully incorporate her sarcasm, but also her growth. For the other, I wanted to focus more on how her thoughts and words didn’t always align, but she was always trying. They were both first person because it fit them.
Another series I have completed in draft form had to be third person as there were five main characters who all needed to share their point of view, with the focus shifting from story to story.
Now, as I stand at the crossroads with Saga, I have to decide if I want to stay focused on Saga and her inner journey, or if I want to branch out and give more focus to the supporting cast around her. Do I want to broaden the scope? Or keep it more narrow? Do I want to continue to offer her unique way of thinking as if she’s talking out loud? Or let her express herself more to those around her?
Honestly, at this exact point, I don’t know. I think I’m going to take this one step at a time, and maybe see which way the next chapter wants to lead me. Anyone else out there shift with their character’s voice? Any preferred method of storytelling?
Until next time –