Sunday, June 13, 2010

First Person

So, I started to write something small in first person, but my question is that when you're writing in first person how do you "show" people what's going on?
If I am talking in first person it's always "I walked over to the closet" ... that is very telly if you ask me. I think that's actually why I started to veer away from first person because I'm not 100% sure how to approach it. "My feet hit the floor and I walked over to the closet." That "tells" what's going on.

Bottom line, how do I "show" in first person? Any tips?


  1. approaching it that was is very telly! when using first person you have to be more descriptive, to get past the basic, "i did this or that" instead of My feet hit the floor and I walked over to the closet, add descriptives in there, such as, the floor felt cold under my feet as i walked to the closet. Just get away from using "I" all the time!!

  2. Josh is right, but here's another way to approach it.

    Perhaps your character can be debating on what outfit to wear, maybe they are dreading the search through their jumbled closet for something. Or you could even have them take something out, put it back, take another thing out, put it back, etc. All of this shows you that the person it at the closet. You don't have to tell your reader every little thing. If they find a character groaning as they shuffle through a row of shirts, they'll assume the character is standing in front of a closet. You don't have to tell them that. The reader will just assume that.

  3. yes to both the above! You just need to remember that the point of view of your character doesn't remind us of teens talking "so like I go here and she goes like this and then we both go..." just jump in and if you don't like it take your favourite first person book out and see how they do it. The first line of Catcher in the Rye is "It was cold as a witch's tit." I guess that is technically pretty 'telly' but no one seemed to care.