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FIRST PERSON : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

FIRST PERSON

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
LilliesCarol
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FIRST PERSON

Postby LilliesCarol » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:41 am

My daughter is writing a novel in first person and asked me to comment. I do not like first person books, but would like to steer her to a well written first person book. Any suggestions.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

James A. Ritchie
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:36 pm

Which genre? I love first person. I prefer it to third limited, so I generally know a number of first person novels in any genre I read, which is most of them.

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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby LilliesCarol » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:41 pm

James, I've only read the first two chapters, but I believe it will be a mystery. Here are her first three opening paragraphs:

After tossing and turning in bed for hours, I find sleep to be only a good idea. It is the hottest October in Kansas City since they began keeping records. It is also the ten-year anniversary of the killing. Both keep me awake tonight.

My mind lives among every detail of what happened in room 333 on that gray, rainy day in 1973. Usually hollow screams and crying sobs echo in my head, but this year it is different. Tonight, for reasons I can only guess at, the screams are silent, yet the memories persist to disturb my thoughts and every attempt at sleep.

I was a sophomore in high school back then. My life experiences were limited and my soul still innocent and impressionable. However, the same two questions haunt me to this day: Why did I not do something to make it stop? What if I had shut my eyes and chosen not to watch? If I had stopped it or covered my eyes, perhaps the horror from that day would not continue to blight my soul like some callous cancer.

Please give me your thoughts.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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DrG2
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby DrG2 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:55 pm

I don't know how old your daughter is. For examples of first person narration, I tend to go to Charles Bukowski, Chuck Pahlaniuk, and Raymond Chandler. However, Bukowski is often obscene. Pahlaniuk's recent "Doomed" has a teenage girl protagonist and would probably be OK. Many of the "noir" type detective stories are in first person, but they have an affected manner that it probably wouldn't be good to emulate.

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pls
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby pls » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:19 am

Are you asking for first-person novels only, or first-person and present tense, which is what your daughter is using?
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LilliesCarol
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby LilliesCarol » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:29 am

Thank you for your help. This is my youngest daughter and she is a graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City, many years ago. She is almost a senior citizen, so is no youngster. Perhaps she is even aware of some of these authors, but then not for her, but for me to read and refresh my mind. It might be a good exercise in teaching an old dog new tricks.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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mammamaia
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby mammamaia » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:29 am

while i can enjoy a well-written first person mystery [pretty standard for the 'noir' sub-genre], first person in present tense is something else again... not only would i never read anything using both, i'm pretty sure that would be the hardest of all to sell... and is probably the least common person/tense combo found in fiction...
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby pls » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:47 am

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James A. Ritchie
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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:03 am

Try the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich. They're very popular with readers your daughter's age, and with a lot of otehr people, as well. The Stephanie Plum novels have numbered titles, and the first five are: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, Four to Score, and High Five.

Evanovich has also written other novels that aren't in teh Plum series, but I haven't caught up on reading them, and don't know how many are in first person.

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Re: FIRST PERSON

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:05 am

I hate present tense, but some enjoy it, and even some classics have been written in present tense, though not without complaint from a lot of readers. I just don't like it, however the writer uses it.

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