First person vs. Third person

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I’ve officially abandoned the Mars novel. It makes me sad. I love the book. I hope I’ll be able to fix it someday, but I’m not going to keep banging my head against the wall trying to figure it out. I’ll let it simmer on the back burner in my brain and pray that my subconscious mind discovers the solution. In the meantime, I started a new book during NaNoWriMo and ran into a problem that really messed with my head.

I wrote my Mars series in third person limited. This new novel is told in first person from two perspectives, and it is frustrating! This is a story that needs two perspectives and needs to be told from inside the characters’ heads. It’s essential to the plot. But I don’t write that way! It feels like I’m trying to wear my husband’s shirt. It’s not the right fit and looks ridiculous. I look at the page and think, “This is all wrong!’ even when it probably isn’t. I debate with myself over verb tense for half the sentences. I waffle between past and present until I give up and work on another section. Rinse and repeat.

Google has been only mildly helpful in this situation. Rereading novels written in first person is distracting because I want to read the novel for fun instead of analyzing how the author writes. I know this is something that just takes practice and adjustment, but I’m not someone who likes to practice. For any reason. Ever. (It’s a character flaw. I’m working on it.)

If you have suggestions for making the switch to first person from third person, I would very much appreciate it.

And in case you care, the new book is about mermaids, but is mostly definitely not a fantasy novel. Figure that out. 🙂

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