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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 3, '15, 6:26 pm 
Now I'm in the opposite camp here; I'm much more used to third-person than first-person. Though recently I'm starting to get used to second-person. Must be the pen and paper rules and certain writing projects I'm working on XD


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 3, '15, 9:22 pm 
I prefer first person just because it enables me to color the tone of my writing with that of the character. My regular 3rd person prose tends to be really dry and bland and I've never been comfortable with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 3, '15, 10:51 pm 
Snorb wrote:Now I'm in the opposite camp here; I'm much more used to third-person than first-person. Though recently I'm starting to get used to second-person. Must be the pen and paper rules and certain writing projects I'm working on XD


That's pretty awesome, ha ha. I've never done one in second-person. It's definitely more rarely seen. One of Gene Wolfe's most notable early stories, "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories", is in second-person, and it's really good, but it's the only one I can think of offhand. Second-person can be very good at creating immersion and a sense of immediacy.

I should note that I've never exclusively written in one person or another (though I've never tried second-person, admittedly). I'm just much more comfortable with more limited narrators. But yeah, Hukos, I feel the same way about first versus third-person. First just seems innately more colorful and full of depth to me, though again there's always a trade-off.

But getting back to the previous idea that the hardest part is starting, which you brought up in the other topic, I very much agree, but I've found that with time and sheer repetition you eventually move past that. You always want to get off to a good start, but it's been my experience that some of the best stories have the most difficult and tumultuous beginnings. I've discovered that, at least in my experience, you have to forge ahead and disregard the minor imperfections and see the first draft as just that; a rough template or impression that can be smoothed over later on. The most important thing in the early creative process is simply to get the words and ideas out on the page. Then you can come back later and go over it with more of a fine-toothed approach.

It gets said a lot, but most writers tend to agree that the most important thing is simply to keep writing, and Heinlein adds that you have to finish what you write. I've finished a lot of bad stories which I only later realized were totally awful, but I think it's important to finish them and learn from them. Getting into the habit of not finishing stories can make it a lot harder to realize a good and deserving idea when it does come to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 4, '15, 12:08 am 
Bragatyr wrote:It gets said a lot, but most writers tend to agree that the most important thing is simply to keep writing, and Heinlein adds that you have to finish what you write. I've finished a lot of bad stories which I only later realized were totally awful, but I think it's important to finish them and learn from them. Getting into the habit of not finishing stories can make it a lot harder to realize a good and deserving idea when it does come to you.


That's true, but you have to crack through the perfectionist mindset of "It has to be perfect the first go around, or else its trash."


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 4, '15, 4:29 am 
For me, third-person is useful if you want to get into flowery descriptions, spending time making something come to life with words by writing about every last detail. (Which is neither a positive or a negative - that sort of prose has its place.) It just doesn't seem to fit or flow naturally in first-person. Also, I'm a fan of old-fashioned mysteries, and my personal preference is something like that benefits from third-person/a totally unbiased and impartial narrator.

@Hukos - I've been there, with wanting everything to be perfect the first time around. Some people advise just blazing through, saying you can always go back and fix something later. There's certainly nothing wrong with doing things that way, but for me, I know that if something's not right, it's going to bug me and I won't be able to move on.

HOWEVER!

I forget if I've ever told this story here before, but it's one I like to whip out in some writing discussions. I had one of my novels all planned out, and was merrily writing away...and I finally realized that the first two chapters just did not work. Not that they were poorly written, just that they messed up the pacing of the beginning and dragged things down. It was scary and it stung a bit (because aren't all of our words wonderful and beautiful, and don't they deserve to be in the final product?), but I ultimately wound up cutting the whole thing and renaming "Chapter Three" to "Chapter One". I didn't delete those chapters forever, they're still saved in the folder as "unused prologue", but it was the best thing I could have done for the story.

I guess that was my really long-winded way of saying that even if you work hard to start something perfectly, it still might work out differently in the long run anyway. So you might as well just writewritewritewritewrite now and figure out the nitty gritty details later. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 4, '15, 7:31 am 
augmentedfourth wrote:For me, third-person is useful if you want to get into flowery descriptions, spending time making something come to life with words by writing about every last detail. (Which is neither a positive or a negative - that sort of prose has its place.) It just doesn't seem to fit or flow naturally in first-person. Also, I'm a fan of old-fashioned mysteries, and my personal preference is something like that benefits from third-person/a totally unbiased and impartial narrator.


This is also true.

The story I'm working on features an unreliable narrator, in so much as that she's kind of unbalanced and all. So naturally first-person works better for that, since the world is seen through her eyes (and she doesn't quite give an unbiased view of the world).

It helps that I'm more comfortable writing in the first person as well!


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 4, '15, 5:22 pm 
Present tense does generally annoy me, and I don't think it's advisable in most cases, but it can be done very beautifully and very effectively. The aforementioned "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories" by Gene Wolfe is told in both present tense and second person because it's the story of a young boy who escapes from his broken life through literature. It's a perfect choice, because it captures the sense of immediacy and surrealism that often accompanies the younger stages of life, especially when dealing with grief and confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 5, '15, 12:46 am 
I don't mind present tense, and I've dabbled in it a couple times. Like anything else, there are times when it's really effective in a particular kind of story, and other times where it's just unnecessary. To paraphrase Bragatyr, it's effective at conveying immediacy and urgency, and I don't think the other tenses do that as well. (But, of course, immediacy/urgency isn't always crucial in a story, and so on.)


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 5, '15, 3:29 am 
I thought it was interesting that when I Googled present tense I discovered numerous articles bemoaning just how omnipresent it had become. One in particular was suggesting that it's a real bane in modern writing and that students have even become convinced that it's the only "proper" way to write in the modern era, and that past tense is a thing of the 19th century (which, just, wow).

Kind of funny, because I'd never heard that kind of thing. Then again I'm not really into contemporary lit for the most part. I will say that, even in the genre side of things where I tend to read in the modern mags, there is a kind of "chic" or trendy way of writing that does often use present tense and makes me want to vomit. Anything that's kind of faux-literary really annoys me. If a writer writes well, like Cormac McCarthy or Gene Wolfe, that's one thing, but man. The whole grad student workshop style of writing drives me insane.


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 Post subject: Re: Any writers here?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 5, '15, 9:11 am 
Yeah, if I ever got into college, I think I'd avoid creative writing classes just so I don't have to put up with that kind of nonsense.


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