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Fiction, Literary Ramblings and Thoughts, Other Musings, Why Not?, Writing & Writers

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

Photo by Fouquin Christophe

Since I’ve been actively writing and submitting work, I’m more aware of getting out of doing what I’ve always done and that’s mainly writing in first person point of view (POV).  That mainly comes from decades of journaling so it’s easiest for me.  That’s what my 120 pages plus of my novel is —  so no way, no how am I going to change it to any other POV at this stage.

The benefits are that the reader feels an instant connection (hopefully) to the main character.  I’ve not tried first person POV via a minor character, so that could be another tactic.  But, the general consensus is that beginning writers fall into the trap of writing in first-person.

Great examples:  John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charlie, fun-to-read Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding and one of my all-time favorites, the hilarious Fear of Flying by Erica Jong.

Third-person POV

I have tried my hand at third person and found it to be relatively painless as well.  It allows more freedom and flexibility such as describing a person’s physical appearance without relying on the old stand-bys when writing in first person, especially third-person omniscient.  Limited third-person, at least to me, is kind of like first-person because I’m still writing mainly about the perspective of one character.

It’s the most popular form of fiction writing.

Second-person POV – A Challenge

What I think is the most difficult (and difficult to read until you get into the rhythm of it) is second-person POV.  You don’t see it that much.  I recently read Jennifer Egan’s Out of Body from The Best American Short Stories and just started reading Sophie Hannah’s The Truth-Teller’s Lie, both written in second-person and both very, very good.

It was a bit disconcerting at first.  The use of “you,” but if it’s good enough for J.D. Salinger, (Catcher in the Rye — is that second-person or third person omniscient with Holden using the word “you” directed at the reader?) then I think I’ll give it a try.

Even if I never show it to anyone.

Although, it’d be much easier to write a “How-to” book in second-person than fiction, maybe I can create an angst-filled character that is blaming another about her/his lot in life — kind of accusatory — that’d be easy, right?

I recently wrote a short story about an inanimate object, written in third-person omniscient and I’m proud of the way it turned out.  That was getting out of my comfort zone, so one of my goals within the week is to give the second-person point of view thing a try.

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What point of view do you gravitate toward?  Which one would take you out of your comfort zone?

Share your comments, happy writing and you have a great weekend.

About Brigitte

Writer/Editor/Wanderer

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. Hi, Brigitte. Thanks for stopping in on my blog. :) I appreciated this article and am an instant follower!

    I took my first creative writing class three years ago where the teacher tasked us with writing the first chapter of a novel if we wished to continue to class #2. So, after a crash course on POV’s, characters and such, I set off to write a chapter. What?! I know, but I did it. And it wasn’t God awful either. ;^) I chose the third-person omniscient which was such a challenge, because by then I’d had very little writing under my belt. I haven’t tackled that POV since because it was such a huge undertaking, but just pulled it out yesterday. It’s laden with problems I can see now but didn’t then. (I guess that’s a good thing.) But, rather than fix it (which would take several wrenches, a rather large shoe horn and some elbow grease) I began writing chapter 2. Took a lot to get into the mindset, which included reading up on POV’s again. POV’s will be the death of me, because as much as I study them, I somehow still don’t exactly get it and can’t detect when I’m shifting. Hopefully, twenty years from now, I’ll have gotten it down. ;^)

    Posted by finally_write | February 25, 2012, 5:18 pm
  2. Hi Sue — Thanks for stopping by to read. I think it’s always a learning process and it’s easy to switch those POVs when we’re pounding our some great prose, but the more one writes, the better one gets. Like anything else and any other muscle, the more we use them, the stronger they get. Why not take a look at that chapter again? I bet you’ll find it’s not as difficult as you think. “Give yourself permission to write badly” as I’ve always heard — fix the kinks later. ;).

    Good luck, thanks for the kind comments and I’ll stop by again yours as well!

    Posted by Brigitte | February 25, 2012, 5:51 pm

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