Wednesday, January 7, 2015


There’s a lot of dust flying in the McKye household.
No, I’m not cleaning, although I’ve done a bit of that, but I have been dusting off some manuscripts. I about choked on some of the dust that accumulated since I last opened them. I’m looking them over to see which are viable and which aren’t.
I’ve written some experimental stories and tried out different genres and POV.  I’ve learn much about what works and what doesn’t in my writing with those experiments.  Alas, I still suck at first person. Okay, maybe not suck at it, but I don’t particularly like writing stories in first person, or reading it for that matter. I know there are writers that adore first person and I’ve read a few stories well enough executed to make me forget it’s in first person. My husband loves to read and write in first person and does a good job. Personally, I prefer third person. Hey, I’m nosy and I want to know what another is thinking and what’s going on out of sight of the main character. I do, however, use first person in working through a problem scene to create a sense of immediacy. I write it in first person and then go back and write it in third.
Why do I do that?
First person narrows the scene, increases the pace, gets rid of excess/unnecessary verbiage, and helps me work out the kinks in a scene or with characters in the scene. When I use first person I focus on tenses such as the moment of speaking or utterance (Yeah, it’s a real term in grammar. Much thanks to my ninth grade teacher, retired army sarge, Mr. MacDonald for those lessons).  Moment of utterance strips the scene to the moment of action and with the use of immediate action verbs. It’s precise and it doesn’t like adverbs. It’s the same with the time of completion—very specific and spare. I actually learned to effectively use those tenses in college and points of view switches when doing observational reports and case studies or for short stories when I’d get stuck. For me, it’s a great tool.
  • How do you work on a scene that’s giving you fits?
  • What tools do you like to use to make your writing better? 

    The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

    Let me take a moment to also wish you all a happy and productive 2015!  


Natalie Aguirre said...

Happy New Year, Sia! I tend to use my critique group when I get stuck. And like you, I prefer to write in 3rd person.

Yolanda Renee said...

I'm a third person kind of gal too, but I've been practicing in first. I was shocked at how many authors prefer first person and how popular it is. Like you I don't really enjoy reading it either.
I've always felt like my characters narrator - maybe because I'm an over-analyzer too.
Thanks for the tip on moments of utterance, that should help me with a problem I'm having. I'm going to practice today! Awesome new tool!

Karen Walker said...

Interesting, Sia. The one small publisher I submitted my novel to didn't like it because it WASN'T fits person. I prefer third as well, because, well, I'm nosy, too.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I have to make a conscious effort to write in third person format. First person comes naturally, but a good story is a good story, first, second or third. Right?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thanks for the blessing. I also don't like to write or read first person though I've read some great stories that were first person.
When stuck in a scene, I try to bare bones it. What needs to happen to move the story forward? And then I flesh it out afterward.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I prefer third person too in my writing and my reading. I know that first person present tense is popular, but I cringe every time I open up a book and discover that's the POV.

However, like you, if I have problems that need resolving, I usually work them out with some experimental first person writing.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love this post for so many reasons! First, your quote at the top rocks. That rejection is hard, yes, but we have to be accepting and move on to that redirection. Love it.

I've only ever written in first person once. My first published novel is in first person. It just needed to be that way. I personally prefer third person, but a very tight third person. I like your suggestion of using first to work through a tough scene to "create a sense of immediacy." Smart girl!

~Sia McKye~ said...

NATALIE--Third person just comes naturally to me. I do use a critique group as well but have found switching to first person a helpful tool.

RENEE--First person just helps me see the scene better when I hit a wall. Oh, I'm a big analyzer, lol!

KAREN--yep, I'm nosy and want to know what's going on around me.

PEACHES--I can understand that. 3rd comes naturally to me altho I do use second on occasion with non fiction. :-) In creative writing it 3rd.

SUSAN--for me first person helps me to bring it bare bones. :-) I like that question: What needs to happen to move the story forward?

DIANNE--Another perspective or focus. fresh eyes is always good. First person gives me fresh eyes on a problem. :-)

Christine Rains said...

Happy new year! I'm a fan of third person POV too. Yet sometimes the story calls for first person. I recently rewrote an entire novel to change the POV. Amazing how POV can make all the difference! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I never thought about writing a tough scene in first person. Like you, I prefer third. I have written out what the characters thought of each other in first person and that helped.

~Sia McKye~ said...

DONNA-- Thank you. The intent of the scene in relation to the story can get lost in volume of words. Immediacy and action verbs help shine a light on the intent. :-)

CHRISTINE--Happy New Year to you, too! Yes, POV can make a big difference to a story.

ALEX--exactly. What each character is seeing and feeling does help with getting the right flow in the problem scene. :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Sia,

Happy New Year!

Love first person. And you are SO right it has urgency and intensity...

I wrote my second novel in first/present. Talk about urgency...

I do love third person though and had written my first novel that way. But I find myself slipping into first with each new project. I wonder why?

Wishing you and your family the very best this year!

Angela Brown said...

That is a very interesting technique. Inteesting how tihngs can differ and offer helpful insight just from one POV to another. Hope you have a great year.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Writing in first person is an interesting idea. I usually just skip ahead to the next scene and play connect the dots later.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia - Happy New Year .. and all that dust - well it's good to tackle it - I've opened things and they've disintegrated on me ... do we rush through our years that quickly!

I hope you have an easier year and lots of good writing experiences .. and yes all those blessings will be very blessed across here ... cheers and enjoy 2015 - Hilary

Kat Sheridan said...

Happy New Year! And I'm glad to hear you're digging out manuscripts and getting back into writing! I used to dislike first person, especially present tense, but there's an author I love who does it SOOOO well, I've learned to enjoy it. I usually write in third person, but how's this for crazy? My current WIP is BOTH first and third (the main heroine in third, and the diaries of a secondary heroine in first!) Yeah, I never do anything the easy way! Can't wait for you to finish and publish one of your novels!

~Sia McKye~ said...

MICHAEL, You made me laugh. For some, first person is natural. Thank you for wishes and wishing you a happy New Year as well.

ANGELA, for me the technique works. Each writer has tools that work for them.

DIANE--I've done that, too. Skip ahead but I tend to use it more with regard to plot and trouble scenes.
HILARY--Yep lots of dust. Oh, I have a few that have disintragated on me, lol!

~Sia McKye~ said...

KAT--I like how you switch between third and first person in your book.
You have such faith in me and my writing abilities. :-)

But, at least I feel the desire to publish again. It's nice to have writing credits whether non-fiction or fiction, but getting a book out there? Well that takes a bit more dedication some nasty editing. One of my goals is to get some of my completed stories edited and get back on the querying merry-go-round. I do have an aquiring editor who told me to contact her when I ready to go again. Guess it's time to get this series in shape, send it to Beth and try again.

LD Masterson said...

I like to write short stories in first first person but for novels I like third. In fact, multiple thirds. I enjoy the old headhopping style but since it's out of favor with the powers that be, I limit my POV shifts to scene breaks.

Happy new year.

Michelle Wallace said...

Happy New Year, Sia!
I love reading third person, and also tend to gravitate towards writing in that POV.
However, I've written a few short stories in first person, which seemed to work well for those particular pieces.
Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday.

~Sia McKye~ said...

LD Yah, I miss the head bopping--granted some books it was really bad but most were not. I was reading one Nora Roberts new books and she will bop between two characters but it's obvious that there's a break and it's actually a smooth transistion.

I have to admit that many of my earlier stories had more head bopping. My writing group beat it out of me, lol!

MICHELLE--I enjoyed your post. I apologize for not getting to you more but the past few months I've been in my castle with the drawbridge up and not blogging much. Things are better now and I'll be around more frequently.

G. B. Miller said...

Usually if a scene is giving me fits (like a proper ending for example), I will often walk away from I for a few....weeks. Mostly to let my mind wander and do a little free association while I'm wandering.

As for writing, I'm torn between 1st and 3rd. Experimented with 2nd but wasn't thrilled with results. I did my novel in 3rd, which came out fine, but the challenge of 1st is what keeps me interested.

I rewrote one novella from 3rd to 1st (even did the synopsis in 1st) but there's still at least one more edit to do in order to make sure it stays at 1st throughout until the end.

Father Nature's Corner

Toinette Thomas said...

Happy New Year to you. Nice tips and things to think about.