Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hello Inner Editor


I wrote over 10,000 words last week and then yesterday deleted almost half. Reason? I’m changing my POV.

A long, long, time ago, when I first started to dabble in this writing world, I read someplace that it’s best to not write in first person because writing in third POV allows the writer more depth into the story through other characters' eyes.

So I changed a book I’d written in first to third person POV and have continued on that course since. (Sort of like the sheep that jump off the cliff with all the rest.)

Until this book.

We are also told to brush off that little editor that sits on our shoulder when we write our first draft. Not this time.

That’s right. My inner gut, voice, editor, call it what you want, is telling me to go with first person for this story or I might never get it right.

But wait! What about what I read a long, long time ago? What about digging into the brains of other characters?

Okay. Don't think those words aren't ringing around in my head. So this past month, I checked out a few books from my fancy new library here in town. (Come visit.) POV—first person.

Loved them. Loved them. Yes, I’ve read a few in the past year but this time I poured them into me and read them with an eye to see if I could still love the MC as much.

You guessed it. I changed my book all around (drove me a little nuts and my eyes are falling out of my sockets) BUT! I can hear my character and her woes so much better!

So yeah, sometimes you have to really listen to that voice that says go with it. No matter what the fears.

What has your voice told you to do recently? (Besides tell you that now you really need to make a trip to Florida to check out my new library here. I'll give you a tour.)

41 comments:

patti said...

You go, girl! I LOVE those inner editors, especially when they're the Holy Spirit!!!

Warren Baldwin said...

There is a reason for that little voice!

My family will be in N. Florida in December.

wb

Jan Cline said...

I have wanted to do the same thing, but alas, all the advise out there is dont do 1st person. I dabbled a bit and next one will probably be 1st person. Good for you for going with your gut.

Saumya said...

Good for you for listening to that voice!! We ignore it way too much sometimes! Good luck with your new POV; I love reading first person!

Jennifer Hasheider said...

It wasn't exactly my "inner voice" as much as it was Lou Turner's in a class she taught. She suggested I change my story from 1st to 3rd POV so that I had depth of character, etc. I'm glad b/c personally was finding writing in 1st person felt a little funky. I'm changing the story from 1st to 3rd and so far I'm digging it. For my 1st book I think 3rd person is comfy.

Lin Floyd said...

inner editor vs. inner critic, it's a fine line. good suggestions. thanks!

Diane said...

There's a lot of voices in there!!! Praying you hear the right one and enjoy the journey. :O)

Anonymous said...

My voice said walk away for a while, so I did.

Shirley said...

I didn't mean to comment as Anonymous. I hit a button by mistake :(

K9friend said...

My voice tells me I should stop blogging and start writing! LOL

Pat
www.critteralley.blogspot.com

Andrea said...

I can't believe you just ask me this question. I am being told to write my memoir! Okay, I have now publicly admitted it. Guess, I am going to have to do something about it, now.
Hugs,
andrea

Linda Hoye said...

I had to smile at this because I did the same thing with my memoir a few months ago!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love first person pov. I've used it for my YA novels. But for my romantic suspense, I've written those in third person. I think it has to do with the genre and the book.

Kenda said...

How brave you are to switch gears, and have to cut all those words to do so. Wow. Good luck. Sounds like it's right for you. And what has my voice said to me? My voice (third person)said, do you really know me? Maybe I didn't dig deep enough the first time around. So I'm spending a little more time with her for a bit...

Thanks for sharing :-)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri, I am glad you are listening to your voice... most of the time it guides us well.
My voice has recently told me to follow my heart regarding my current WIP. That's what I am doing. Listening to its wisdom.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I would listen to your instinct and not to what you read somewhere. POV depends on many things, and you can find wonderful books written in first and third person. First person contributes a sense of authenticity that third person doesn't, but third person allows greater breadth of perception. Depends on the story which you need. Good luck with the rewrite.

Nehha N Josshi said...

Thanks for sharing these little insights into the world of writing Terri! It surely helps :) If and when I would be coming that side, I would love to drop by your library:)

Lynda Young said...

There is no absolute rule for writing. None. Do what works for you. I'm really excited for you!

Ralph said...

I read a comment you made on another blog and popped over to read this. I wish you well in getting your friend to paint again and I hope she does. I loved this blog and will now follow.

kathy taylor said...

"Tell me more."

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I think you'll like it that way. I'm in a quandry about where I should pour my energy. My voice keeps telling me to pray and to not rush to make changes...to "sit on it" for a few days.
~ Wendy

Nancy said...

Some books are better in 1st person and some are better in 3rd. Glad you went to so much work to get it right. I believe you will be happy in the end that you listened to your hunch.

T. Anne said...

I think it's a great way to edit as you switch perspectives! You go girl!!

Heidi Willis said...

My crit partner switched her book from 3rd to 1st and the difference is incredible. It went from good to out of this world. The voice is so much stronger and it pulls us in so much better.

I debated long and hard about whether I should do 1st with Some Kind of Normal, because everyone on the internet said it was the kiss of death. But there wasn't a choice for me. It could only have been told that way, and when I saw how many great current bestsellers are written that way, I stopped fearing.

What's right for your book is what you need to do. There's no wrong.

Lydia Kang said...

I am a bit inflexible in that I can only write in first person! I'm afraid of third person. I don't know if I can do it, isn't that crazy?

Susan Fields said...

I've heard time and time again that third person POV is better, but when I pulled out some of my favorite books, I found plenty of first person. Good luck!

Julie Musil said...

I love it! I agree, you should write the way THIS story needs to be told. That's awesome.

I never mind if it's in 3rd or 1st person, and sometimes I can't even tell, because the writing is so good.

Yep, not always easy to turn off that inner editor, though. Good job.

My library is closed for remodeling, so if you weren't across country, I'd take you up on that offer!

Helen Ginger said...

There are reasons for first person POV and for third. What works for one manuscript, may not work for another. If first person works for you for this manuscript, then go for it.

Amie B said...

you couldn't be more right with this one! it's so important to listen to that inspiration - no matter what might be popular.

a manuscript i'm working on right now is in present tense. i HATE present tense. loathe it with a passion. but...this story truly couldn't work any other way. so i went with it. and you know what? i've found it's one of the easiest stories i've ever written.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Jesus leads us by His Holy Spirit, not others' opinions, no matter how expert.

When a friend of mine met with an agent a few years ago, he told her to axe the title chapters in her wip, citing a famous author who didn't have chapter titles in her books.

Last year said famous author came out with a new book. You guessed it: chapter titles.

Go with that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, my dear. He knows best.

Love you,
Jen

Sally said...

New trails are never blazed on the tracks in front of us. Besides, writing trends are a matter of opinion (the opinions of those paying out money, but opinions none-the-less) and a new trend is just getting the money to agree. Write on!

irishoma said...

My inner voice tells me to believe in myself. Like several others who have posted, I listen to the Holy Spirit to guide mo on the right (write) path.
Donna V.
http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com

Keli Gwyn said...

Kudos to you for trusting your internal editor. It sounds like you're much happier with the first person POV. As hard as it can be to delete huge sections of our stories, sometimes that's what's needed. I hope the words are flowing freely now that you've made this discovery.

Karen Lange said...

My voice says, stop wasting time and get moving. After I come see your library of course.
Have a great weekend!
Blessings,
Karen

Sarah Forgrave said...

Hi Terri! I've seen your face on all my friends' blogs so thought I'd pop in and meet you. :-)

I'm a 3rd-person writer but was tempted to switch to 1st person on my latest wip temporarily. I was struggling to get deep in the POV and thought it might help me. Interesting to hear your experience!

colbymarshall said...

10,000 words???? I HATE YOU!!!! Ok, no...I don't hate you. I'm proud of you. But, darn it, I haven't written enough this week. I need to channel my inner Terri!

paulgreci said...

Hi Terri, I rewrote on of my YA novels, changing it from 3rd to
1st person and really liked the results. Good luck with the change. I hope it works for you!!

WritingNut said...

Good for you for listening to that voice! Sometimes you just need to go with your gut :) I'm writing in first person too, and I have those same fears.

Le sigh... my inner voice tells me to go to Florida everyday ;). Hopefully I'll be back next May!

WritingNut said...

Good for you for listening to that voice! Sometimes you just need to go with your gut :) I'm writing in first person too, and I have those same fears.

Le sigh... my inner voice tells me to go to Florida everyday ;). Hopefully I'll be back next May!

arlee bird said...

I think the story and what you want that story to convey dictates the most effective POV. They are both good if used appropriately.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Janet, said...

I like writing in first person. I say, go with your instincts. I've written two MG-upper MG novels and one is in first person. I wouldn't write that one any other way, I love it in first person.