Thursday, February 24, 2005

Riding the Third Person Limited

Sorry, Hilary, it appears that a discussion of POV was not a real barn-burner of a topic.

Kind of shame, that; I was really hoping to pick up some tips. I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but for me, writing in Third Person is a real chore. First Person is easy; people assume it's because I'm writing in my natural voice, but I'm not. Rather, I write in my characters' natural voices.

I call myself a Method Writer because the acting term fits and no writing term I've found comes close. I've never been a vampire, manatee, sentient computer, or alien refugee hiding out on 17th century Earth. But I can imagine being those things, and put myself deeply into the heads of those characters and play those parts, and that is where each of my First Person writing voices comes from.

F'rixample, when I wrote The State of the Union (and some other as yet unpublished things) I was playing Richard Nixon, to the point that after about a week my wife said I was channeling Nixon and asked me to please stop because it was creeping her out.

But writing in Third Person: that seems to require a reporter's analytical distance or a passive observer's detachment, and I have a lot of trouble keeping the story interesting to me when I'm detached and distant -- so much so that the great majority of 3rd P stories I've started remain unfinished wreckage mouldering in the bottom of a filing cabinet somewhere.

Any suggestions as to how you get over this impasse?