If You’ve Never Done It Before – Try Writing ‘First Person’
This is not really a writing tip as such, nor is it original. I hold my hands up there. Guilty as charged.
But, if you’re serious about your writing you need to do a little experimentation, change things around every now and then, just to see what happens. You never know, like life itself, you may be pleasantly surprised.
So here’s the idea…if your comfort zone is ‘third person’ why not write something short along the lines of a really bad spoof pulp fiction paragraph or two? Don’t put any effort into writing it, anything will do as long as it’s ‘hammy’. The idea in this exercise is not to take yourself too seriously, just write something that’s so completely ‘bad’ you won’t feel….er….bad…about it. For example, here’s my woeful attempt…..
“It had been a bad day for Frankie. Work had sucked big time. He knew the only way out was to stop by at Alice’s burger bar on Tweedledum street for a slice of her mighty hot apple pie and a side order of ice cold Buds. Alice had a way of making him feel whole again.….” That will do for starters. Third person.
So, let’s switch it round to first person….
“It had been a bad day. Work had sucked big time. I knew the only way out was to stop by at Alice’s burger bar on Tweedledum street for a slice of her mighty hot apple pie and a side order of ice cold Buds. Alice had a way of making me feel whole again…” Something like that. I know it’s rubbish but you get the drift.
Or how about making it first person present tense?
“It’s a bad day. Work sucks big time. I know the only way out is to stop by right now at Alice’s burger bar on Tweedledum street for a slice of her mighty hot apple pie and a side order of ice cold buds. Alice has a way of making me feel whole again….” A small change but a significant one. A tricky thing to write too…and one that would take a lot of effort to get right. This in itself might be an exercise to really stretch your writing muscles.
So, why not have a go at writing something quite short? Nothing special. Nothing that you have to care about. It can be as bad as the above example if you like, and that’s pretty bad by any standards. It’s just a writing exercise.
By switching from your comfort zone of always thinking in third person, try considering setting your story in first person. It can make a massive difference to your writing, and as I say, even if you don’t want to use first person in your stories at least it’s allowed you to write and relax at the same time, and that’s a bonus.