Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing In The First Person

Many people don't, but I absolutely love writing in the 1st person--a lot! And I love reading books written that way as well. The main reason is because, to my tastes, the protagonist seems to come alive so much more brilliantly. When forced to concentrate on the internal thought process of one character, said character usually turns out more dynamic and interesting, someone who readers can rally behind and care about. You can almost taste their emotions, feel their pain, and when they bleed we bleed.

But here's my predicament now. Along with RED STRAIN (3rd person thank the Lord), I am currently penning the follow-up novel to JEWEL in the 1st person. The protag is a female (Tracey from JEWEL) paranormal investigator. At first I thought I could pull it off without too much difficulty. I'm married, understand women, well, at least in theory, and after all everyone has the same kinds of emotions, right? Wrong!

Every good book has a degree of sexual tension. I don't care if you are the prude of all prudes or the king of porn, we all like sex. And if you say otherwise you're a liar liar pants on fire!

Anyway, you can now understand my predicament. What runs through a woman's mind when she's aroused, feels amorous, or otherwise just wants to tear off a chunk? For men it's easy; I can just write from experience. But I know that women differ. Some are simple to understand, others more complicated, and others, well, impossible at all to predict. So where does that leave me?

To help alleviate some of my worries, and it does stay true to her personality from JEWEL, I've made Tracey to be a tomboy. She chews, cusses, hangs out with men mostly because most women (according to her) are bitches or worse. And that all helps, but...

Any feedback from my female fans would be most appreciated here. My wife has been a tremendous help of course, but she is only one woman, and well, I'd love to see varying view points on how to handle this delicate situation. Because you all know what will happen if I don't nail this dead on (ahem).

So please, feel free to respond in any way you feel inclined. Please share your thoughts on the female psyche. Thanks!


cherie said...

I like to write in 1st person too. I think you should ask specific questions if you want answers. What do you want to know, really? How women flirt? Or respond to attraction? I tweeted this--maybe someone will be nice enough to supply you with answers.

Marilyn Almodóvar said...

I just saw this after Cherie tweeted it. I write in the first person as well, and find it a much more detailed interaction with my MC than if I wrote in the third person.

I agree with Cherie. It might be good to have a few questions so that we can respond.

J. Lea Lopez said...

Oh Justin, I could write you a book... lol. Funny, because before I saw this on Twitter, I'd just posted a blog about writing sex scenes, and the next in that series will be about realism - part of which will be about the reality of women's sexual responses lol.

But anyway, I'm with Cherie - do you have any specific questions that you'd like us to address?

Your character is a bit of a tomboy, but that doesn't mean she's not a sexual woman who wants a lot of the same things a girly-girl might want in that department. First and foremost her responses/reactions should be true to her character.

I seriously could give you lots of opinions, but I'm not sure which ones you want lol.

Anonymous said...

I also love reading in the 1st person. There's a sense of I'm just a little bird following in the story.

I would love to chime in with some feedback but I'm not sure what the question(s) is.

Just in general though I think the biggest difference between the typical woman and a man is that what they REALLY think are not expressed all that often. The typical women are more indirect and are somewhat insecure when it comes to relationships. Even though they maybe be very confident in their profession of choice. But this is an awful generalization.

Tiffany A White said...

Thanks to Cherie, I saw that you are looking for some womanly tips....what are you specific questions?

Justin Holley said...

Hey guys, thanks for your input--much appreciated. Most of you asked for specific questions. Well, I think what I really need to know is this: what is the internal dialogue going on when a tomboy is acting coy, but truly wishes she was capable of giving more emotionally? How does that internal process grow over time?