Thursday, April 14, 2011

Micro Tip of the Day

Here's today's micro tip: don't write in the first person. I was taking a gander over at Nathan Bransford's excellent blog and he's going to help someone workshop a page they submitted to him from their novel. I read the first few lines of the writing and stopped, dead in my tracks. The word "I" appeared twice, and already I was annoyed.

Unless done really, really well (and honestly, I don't even know what I mean by "well" because off the top of my head, I can't think of a good example of first person done well), I cannot handle stories written in the first person. I don't read books to get inside another person's skin. I read them to observe people from afar, to watch them screw their lives up and put them back together again without having to get involved. When I start seeing the word "I" dotting the page, I feel that I'm being dragged into the mix as a confidante or something, and it wigs me out.

So knock it off, all of you experimental folks out there, who feel you want to tuck the reader down the front of your shirt and hold him there, baby-like, hard against your chest, as you jump off a cliff into the unknown. It's a violation, and I have to throw my writing referee flag on you: personal foul, roughing the reader, ten yards from the spot of the foul.

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