A WRITING TIP: Yes they are everywhere. Not grasshoppers. Some few are well done. Not steaks. Most are exactly what their author has aspired for them to be: pulp. Books written in first person point of view. If you want to write a puop (oops, that L is so close to the O on the keyboard, but it’s a very apropos slip, no? PULP is what I meant) if you want to write a pulp fiction novel in a few short days, go ahead and write it in first person. The first person pulp fiction is everywhere. Generally, speaking of fiction writing, to write in first person you use the pronoun I a lot. If the main character of your book is doing all the “talking” then you are writing in first person. This is also known as diary style (yes, as in Diary Of A Wimpy Kid). Second person would be written with the action directed at You. This was once cleverly described as choose-your-own-adventure style, but it doesn’t appear much anywhere (except maybe in the book titled You? I have yet to find this book and read it.) . Third-person writing includes the pronouns He, She, and It. Third-person is probably the most difficult style to write, due to the amount of information the writer has to keep organized. The more epic literature is set in third person style because the writer can describe worlds and even galaxies without the limited perspective of first-person writing.
First person writing is almost faddish, except it’s a style that has been around too long to be faddish. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one example. She wrote the whole thing in various pieces of first-person perspective: from Vincent’s view to the monster’s view and back to Vincent’s. She wrote it in this style because a diary-style was very convincing for the people of her time. The style was meant to make it all more real for the reader. Nowadays though, how many people write letters to each other in such steep formality? How many write in diaries? Certainly not as many as did back then. And yet the style is all over the bookshelves lately.
For anyone who is aspiring to be a serious writer, take a tip from me, first person writing is most effective when it’s objective. If you know what objective means then you’re already on your way, but for those of you who are starting life new I’ll cut you a break. Objective means others can perceive it. This is a terrible conundrum for those who wish to write the next Twilight, because to write objectively and yet say “I” all the time is like shaving your face (or your legs) with the lights off. It hurts your brain, and it could damage your face or slice up your legs.
Subjective on the other hand means only the subject can perceive, or at least it’s limited to a lone perception.
This is exactly what first person writing is…limited. However there are some exceptions, for instance if you are a woman writing in first person with the perspective of a man, and your writing can find a good deal of accuracy, then you have truly become a talented writer of fiction. If you are a south African diamond miner writing as a Dutch vacuum salesman, you could be a talented writer. And actually, if you are a woman writing for women, the diary style seems to be quite effective. The Twilight example is again good, because the author, Stephanie Meyer, did a fantastic job writing for women, because women love to place themselves in the heart of the story and connect with the heroine via the emotional channel that all women share in the real world anyway.
One last thing that is kind of funny about most pulp fiction first person stories that attempt to be thrilling, (and this is something that writers notice about other writer’s work more often than the common man does) the reader KNOWS that the main character cannot die, otherwise how did they come to tell the story? How did they come to write all of this stuff in their diary if they died? Not so thrilling after all, is it? It has been said that to write in first person is to obliterate any chance of killing off your character; they can’t die, because then the question is: how did the dead manage to write this diary? With dried leather flesh on brittle bones clacking away at the typewriter…wait there is no typewriter, the bones are clacking against themselves! (Insert lovely movie scream.) Truth is, the writer can kill off the main character, but then the writer has spoiled most of the suspense because either the story must end or the main character must be immortal. The only writer who got away with that sort of first-person mischief (within my cranial database) is Shel Silverstein. In other words, you ain’t gonna pull it off unless your story (or poem) is humorous. If your story isn’t intentionally humorous, any critical readers will still perceive it that way if you’re writing in first person and death is the suspense element…and then you, the writer, will be immortalized in parodies and lampoons. Hmmm, should’ve started there yourself maybe.