For a long time I didn’t like first person POV. I didn’t trust it. I didn’t think an entire world could be shared through the eyes of a single person.
It wasn’t until I read the first novel in the Dresden Files series that I began to take first person POV seriously. I realized how voicey a narrative could become by telling the story from one person’s viewpoint. (More recently I read Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. The voice in that book absolutely blew me away.)
As you may know, I’ve been struggling to write lately. My Pitch Wars entry didn’t get any agent love during the agent round, and there’s been little movement on the query front. (I’m still far from the 90+ rejections touted by many published authors, but each rejection I’ve received can get to me anyway. That being said, I’m so appreciative of each one that’s been personalized, that’s offered advice, that’s helped me think about my story in a new way.)
Then I read a post about Surviving Nearly There. It spoke to me. Really spoke to me.
First of all, if I’m honest with myself, I’m not “nearly there” yet. I’m nearly to “nearly there.” I’m close. I have over half a dozen WIPs floating around in my mind. I have two completed novels. I honestly believe I have what it takes to write–and eventually publish–more than one book. That’s the place I want to be in when I get an agent.
But I’m not there yet. And that’s okay. It’s okay because I’ve realized I need to take this time to find my own voice. To experiment with ideas I’ve either shunned or been too afraid to try. To explore concepts, issues, character qualities that scare me. To learn things about myself in the process, both good and bad.
My current challenge to myself is changing POVs. Writing a short story as first person. Re-writing part of a completed novel as first person. Experimenting with some second person, just for kicks. No one else has to read these words.
As Robin LaFevers said in the blog post linked earlier:
Give yourself permission to write as if no one—not your mother, not your sister, not your spouse, not even another living, breathing soul—will have to see it. There is great freedom in slamming that door shut while you write.
I need some of that freedom in my life, and I’m going to take it for myself. Because I’m the only one who can grant it.