Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Life as Usual

Today I made myself over into an M&M--so manychoices, so much potential time wasted...
So here I am

Okay, so that's not really my hair, and I don't wear a tiara, but the ice cream cone and even the glasses are dead on.

Seriously though...I recently read my first Mary Janice Davidson book. It was Sleeping with the Fishes, and while it was a little short for my taste (and just a little potty-mouthed), I liked it. I liked Fred the Mermaid and enjoyed the story. There was a couple of Acknowledgements pages at the beginning, and seeing as I always read those, this was no exception. In them Ms. Davidson said,

"I made the gross mistake of initially writing Fred the Mermaid in first person--gross because first person should be used sparingly, if at all, and I made a mistake because Fred ended up sounding like Betsy with fins."

The question that struck me immediately--after 'Who's Betsy?'--my current work-in-progress being written in first person, was why? Why should first person be used sparingly? Personally I like it. I like writing it, and I like reading it. I think it adds another level of characterization. You know what the characters are thinking even when they don't speak, even when the hide their reactions. There's a sense of immediacy that doesn't come from a third person telling. I could see Ms. Davidson saying that first person doesn't work for her, that she can't keep the internal voices of her characters unique and separate. But she didn't say that; she made a sweeping pronouncement. So now i'm curious.

Any thoughts, opinions?


Sara Hantz said...

I only ever write in first person present. I've tried 3rd but it doesn't work. I've tried first person past but I become a total incoherent wreck.... where rules of grammar go out the window and I can barely string two words together.

Amanda Brice said...

I only ever write in 1st person, but in past tense. Well, that's not totally true. The one I'm writing now is 1st person present.

But I just can't do third to save my life. Comes off stiff and boring.

Julie S said...

I write in 3rd, but I'd like to write in 1st one of these days. I really like reading 1st! But from what I hear, it's not for everybody.

That's a funny M&M!

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Oh my goodness! You don't know Betsy.. She's from MJD's Undead books. One of my favorite series. The first one is Undead and Unwed.
Betsy wakes up from a tragic accident and finds that she's a vampire.. in fact, queen of the vampirs. But she hates the sight of blood and the whole idea of drinking it? Ew. LOL
It's extremely witty.

Katkat said...

I like first person, however I rather know what everyone is thinking in a book.
And you really should wear a tiaria everyday1

Stacy said...

Love the customized M&M.

I like 1st person, but it is tricky to do well. She definitely shouldn't have generalized simply because it didn't work for her.

Do you ever read Diana Peterfreund's blog? She wrote this very long defense of 1st person POV a few months back. You might appreciate it.