As most of you know by now, I’ve started work on my third novel. What makes this book different though is the fact that I’m writing in the first person instead of the third person. In the third person one tends to do a lot of “he said,” “She smiled”, etc. Whereas the first person is a bit more personal in my opinion.
Just about all writers like to let the audience inside their characters heads. Some will do it in the “omniscient” style, where they let reader see inside every characters head in the same scene all at once. We’re allowed to know what they’re thinking, even if they don’t share their thoughts with the other characters. Or the author will let you inside one character’s head at a time. This is called ‘limited perspective’ which is what I use a lot, where I only let you inside one character’s mind at a time, even within the same scene. But I’ll indicate the ‘change’ of who’s head you’re inside of by putting a space break between paragraphs and clearly letting the audience know who’s point of view we’re now watching through.
However, in first person perspective, you get a narrator who tells the entire story. You’ll see a lot of “I said…”, “I thought…” etc. etc. While powerful, this point of view can be limiting since the audience can only know what the narrator knows. We don’t get inside the heads of the other characters to see what they’re thinking, unless the author switches narrators between chapters. This is kind of what I’m doing with “The Vampyre Blogs”.
Like a real blog, the entire book is made up of entries, only in this case they are created by the different characters. Each speaking in the first person perspective. Bram Stoker used this style in “Dracula” and it worked really well. Since I’m doing a vampire piece, using the same style seemed only natural.
But what I didn’t count on was how much fun I’m having with this style. With each entry, I get to play with a new character. Now, I took theater back in high school and had a blast with it. I’m finding doing these ‘blog entries’ by different characters to be a lot like my theater experience. I really get inside whichever character’s entry I’m working on, and get to be them. I really get a chance to see through their eyes and get to know them in a deeper way than I have with my characters in the past. Then when I’m done with that entry, I get to take mentally shed that character and don another persona and repeat the process. I sometimes feel like I’m doing a one man show in front of an audience. Only I’m doing it from behind a computer screen instead of being on stage.
Now I know for a lot of writers, getting inside a character’s head is normal. I did it for my other novels, but as I mentioned just a little while ago, I feel like I’m getting to really know my characters more in depth than before. Will I be able to keep going this deep when I return to the third person perspective? I don’t know, yet. I hope so. Because I’m really enjoying the experience. Just so long as I don’t get too caught up with them and lose myself so to speak.
This whole experience is a fascinating journey of discovery for me. What have some of your experiences with writing and getting to know your characters been like gang? I’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to share your experiences with the rest of us in the comments section below.
I’m afraid this is all I have to share for now. Take care and keep writing everyone!