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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Other than my memoir type book, I've never written in the first person.  That one was easy because I was relating my own experiences.  For fiction....maybe not so easy.

I have a short story I feel needs to be written in the first person.  I wanted to know if it is ok to direct comments to the audience...or is that not done?  As if the person is sitting there telling their story to people.  I'm afraid I might not be explaining this well. Do you know what I mean?
 

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Like a narrative? There shouldn't be any problems writing that way, I think it's called an omniscient POV where the narrator knows all (sort of like G-d). The formating for conversations etc would be the same.
 

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Thanks!  ;D First person is pretty popular right now and has always been a favorite of mine. It can be tricky to pull off because you can't get into the minds of others, just that of your main. I'd say it's best if you read at least a couple books that are in first person to get a good grasp on how the POV style works. Good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you.  Great advice and I'm actually reading one now.  It has always intimidated me so here's hoping I can pull it off.  :)
 

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Jeanne, I love the quality of your voice in first person. It's absolutely natural, it seems as easy for you as falling off a log. Accessible to folks, just as if you're talking to a friend.  I can understand why you may want to use third person for another type of book, but for the Pet Diaries, it was perfect.  I guess you just have to try omniscient or third person, print it up, and see what reads better. That's the main thing. You can tell when you print something up if it's right or not. 
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much, Maggy.  I'm so happy that you are enjoying the pet book.  :)

And yes, I'll give it a whirl in both voices and see what resonates better. That's a great idea.
 

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I agree that your 1st person POV in the Pet Diaries is wonderfully natural and I think any book you wrote in that same tone would be easy to read and natural. I like the idea of asking readers questions in your narrative as if you are having a conversation. I think it pull them more deeply into your story. Best of luck with it.
 

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I agree with everyone else.  I don't see any problem with breaking down the fourth wall and letting the narrator address the reader directly.  Done well, it can be an excellent technique.

The only thing that ever really bugs me about first person narration is wise-crack narrators who think they're funny but aren't...
 

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I write mostly in first person.

I don't think there are any rules to how you structure your writing. It would help if you could give an example of what you mean by addressing the reader. It could be like a drama/film where a character sometimes talks to camera. So they're specifically telling something as an aside. Or you might mean that the character is talking to themselves. If it's a casual, chatty style, either of these could work.
 

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Nancy Fulda said:
I agree with everyone else. I don't see any problem with breaking down the fourth wall and letting the narrator address the reader directly. Done well, it can be an excellent technique.

The only thing that ever really bugs me about first person narration is wise-crack narrators who think they're funny but aren't...
I resemble that remark:-()
 

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Mark Twain does it on the first page of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but you have to remember that novel is over 100 years old. It's generally considered an old-fashioned technique. So, dear reader, I would personally never allow my first-person character to address the audience. ;)

Unless, of course, it's a historical or something where you're mimicking that style. Even then, I would use it very sparingly because it tends to pull the reader out of the story.
 

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I used to use first person, but felt I got a more well-rounded, or objective view of my character if I stood outside him.
 

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Ladyeclectic said:
Like a narrative? There shouldn't be any problems writing that way, I think it's called an omniscient POV where the narrator knows all (sort of like G-d). The formating for conversations etc would be the same.
Actually, it's 2nd person POV.
1st person is a story told by the POV character as though it's a diary.
2nd person is a story told by the POV character as though he is speaking with the reader.
3rd person is a story told by a narrator who is only aware of the thoughts of the immediate POV character.
Omni is a story told by a narrator who knows everyone's thoughts.

Mark Twain and Tolkien occasionally slipped into 2nd POV when they were writing, and I always found it jarring because the rest of the book was in 3rd. If you're doing a 1st person POV, I wouldn't address the reader even if it's just here and there. I'd either go all out 1st person and ignore the reader, or go all out 2nd and treat the reader lkike he's sitting right beside you.
 

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The key to first person is in the voice. If you get the voice right then the rest is fairly straightforward. Brilliant examples of first person narration can often be found in the crime genre - Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett's 'The Continental Op', Ross MacDonald, Mickey Spillane; these guys are brilliant examples of how to do it and do it right!

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all so much for such great responses and advice.  I may write a little bit of it both ways just to see how it sounds.

If I do go with 2nd person, I would start it that way from the beginning, so there would be no sudden shocks for the readers.  I can understand where it could abruptly pull you out of the story. 

Thank you so much everyone.  This has been a tremendous help. 

And Greenpen...LOL  I love your sense of humor.  :)

 

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JeanneM said:
Thank you all so much for such great responses and advice. I may write a little bit of it both ways just to see how it sounds.

If I do go with 2nd person, I would start it that way from the beginning, so there would be no sudden shocks for the readers. I can understand where it could abruptly pull you out of the story.

Thank you so much everyone. This has been a tremendous help.

And Greenpen...LOL I love your sense of humor. :)
Just to make it clear, that's not Second Person point of view.

The two are easy to mix up, but that's third person point of view.

It is not 2nd person unlesss one of the characters is addressed as "you." The only such books that are somewhat common nowadays are "choose your own adventure" narratives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Ryne.  I probably wasn't clear in what I was saying, but I was planning on addressing the audience as you.  At least, I will try it that way and see how it goes.  :)
 

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Ryne Billings said:
Just to make it clear, that's not Second Person point of view.

The two are easy to mix up, but that's third person point of view.

It is not 2nd person unlesss one of the characters is addressed as "you." The only such books that are somewhat common nowadays are "choose your own adventure" narratives.
It's not the character that gets adressed as "you", it's the reader. Something along the lines of:

"There I was, standing all alone in the middle of the field, and I didn't even want to see anyone. Have you ever had that feeling? Well, I never had."

In that passage, the "you" in the second sentence is addressing the reader. That makes it 2nd POV.
http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/glossary/g/secondperson.htm
 

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vrabinec said:
It's not the character that gets adressed as "you", it's the reader. Something along the lines of:

"There I was, standing all alone in the middle of the field, and I didn't even want to see anyone. Have you ever had that feeling? Well, I never had."

In that passage, the "you" in the second sentence is addressing the reader. That makes it 2nd POV.
http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/glossary/g/secondperson.htm
You didn't prove your side with that link. You proved mine.

Yes, it is the character that is addressed as you.

This is 2nd person:
"There you were, standing all alone in the middle of the field, and you didn't even want to see anyone."
 
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