Monday, April 30, 2012


"The central narrator is always, as the term implies, at the center of the action..."
(Burroway & Stuckey-French, 2007, p. 301)


I sat down one night not too long ago and read my Work-in-Progress (WIP) because I had been typing and typing but not really reading it as a whole. 

When I finished, I realized the action was there, but because it was past tense, it seemed so long ago. I knew something had to change if I wanted my reader to be caught up in the action.

I knew what had to be changed was the point-of-view. 

First Person

Changing the WIP from third person past to first person past wasn't so hard. But changing it from first person past to first person present was another thing. 

I had to become my character. I had to create her voice in the immediate. I had to picture her reactions and hear her thoughts as the action happened to her. 

It was a challenge....but it also was fun!

I must admit that when I first starting reading The Hunger Games, I found the first person present to be distracting. It had been awhile since I had read that tense before and it took some getting used to. 

But what really made me decide to switch to first person present was when I read The Help

Switch it Up

What drew me into The Help was the shifting point-of-view of the characters. I loved it because I had seen the movie so I could almost see the characters as they spoke. Because the shift from one character to the next, I felt the story move along faster and the action seemed more immediate.


That was exactly what I needed for my book, The Warfare Club

"A story is told in the first person when one of its characters relates the story's actions and events..." -Writing Fiction, p. 300.

Now my story moves along at a faster pace because the action is immediate and it is happening to the main character from the start. There are limitations, but I find them to be minimal. 

I can create her voice then switch to another character and create her voice on  down the line. Now my readers can relate to the characters as they encounter these obstacles. 

This is so exciting for me now! 

I didn't want this story to be about someone else. I didn't want the story to be about an event that happened long ago. 

I wanted it to seem as though a person is telling you their story as it is happening to them because it is that interesting. I want my readers to follow along through the challenges and obstacles and see how the character changes. 

Now I have a set formula for this seven book series. Sometimes the narrator will be the main character and other times it may be a peripheral character. It's up to me to decide.

That's what makes writing fun!

Your turn: What point-of-view did you choose for your story and why? Have you ever tried first person present? 



  1. I was thrown when I first read Hunger Games too! But it only took me a few pages to get past it and get into the story.

    I used third person in mine, and I think it works. I have a harder time writing first person. I think I tend to "tell" more. But it's not out of the question for a future book. A lot of women's fiction is written in first person, so I could definitely get away with it.

    And yep, I think your WIP reads better the way you wrote it!

    1. Thanks Lindsay! First person has been a challenge, but that's what personal growth is all about!

      Thanks again for reading my WIP. I appreciate it!

  2. Hello,

    I used third person past with a side helping of omniscience. As I was about 2/3 of the way through, I started the Hunger Games, and immediately wished that I had written in 1st person present.

    Looking back, my initial decision was the best one, especially for the genre and the fact that it was my first novel. It required quick changes in setting as it followed four main characters. I could have used present tense, but I don't believe that would have improved the novel at all.

    1. Hey Joseph- I used third person omniscience for my first book as well. I also needed to have the readers follow several people throughout, so third person worked best for the trilogy.

      But when I started this series, third person felt as though all the action happened so long ago and I didn't like that. I wanted the action to seem immediate.

      Writing first person present has been a challenge, but challenges are what make us grow as artists!

      Thanks for visiting again!