Editing Voice

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Ok, so I am still transcribing. But as I get closer to finishing I am starting to think about all the editing. And there is one major thing that I am hung up on, and want to hear what you guys think. What is your personal preference for your protagonists voice? Do you like 1st person – most of the YA genre, or 3rd – a la Harry Potter?

I started writing Recovery in 1st, and then about a quarter of the way through swapped to 3rd. I was still getting to know Bridgid, and I didn’t want her bias influencing the reader. Well, 3rd person went alright, I didn’t really feel the deep connection with Bridgid that I wanted, but I thought she was still showing her colors well enough. And then I got to about the last quarter and would catch myself swapping back to 1st person.

Honestly, I think I want to go back to 1st person. I have some character changes I want to make to Milo, and I think with those changes he will be portrayed better in 1st person. I also think with the way I have Bridgid evolve, it will be clearer if we are in her head more. And lets be honest, I’m no J. K.

How have you all decided on the voice of your character?

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9 thoughts on “Editing Voice

  1. For my current MS, I wrote 1/3 of the novel in 3rd past. It just didn’t feel right, so I edited that to 1st past. I mentally fought long and hard to keep it 3rd, but my novel knew what it wanted to be, I just needed to listen. 🙂 It also wanted to be present tense. And it got it’s way. I’m so glad I switched for this novel, but future works may be different. I don’t feel I am a certain POV writer, but will base that decision on the WIP in question.

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  2. Personally I’m a fan of third person because it allows me a range of consistency but also variety that first person just passes off as voice most of the time. First person to me feels a little lax.

    You can get a deep emotional connection to whoever you’re writing with third person – I do it all the time. I’m so far in there, it feels more personal than first.

    It is a skill, though, that, if you’re used to first and distanced third, will take some gettin’ used to.

    Every story is different. Listen to your gut. If it’s first, it’s first.

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    • Ya that’s why I switched to 3rd, I feel like 1st can lack sometimes. We’ll see what happens. I’m feeling 1st right now. Who knows though, after my edits start I could go back to 3rd.

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  3. I generally write in 3rd person. I think it’s generally reckoned to be easier to do well, maybe because it’s the most common so we have most exposure to it in what we read. 1st person can be powerful, but I’ve only ever used it in short stories, where I’m more likely to experiment. The big advantage of course is that you get right inside the protagonist’s head – but with that also carries the danger of too much internal thought weighing down the prose, of too much ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’. Your main character will tend to dominate, which may or may not be what you want.

    Also how do you then get inside the other characters’ heads? You still have to be skilled at drawing those characters from ‘outside’. (Unless you switch POV at some points.)

    So 3rd person is my default unless I think there’s a strong reason to change it for a particular story. Just cautious I guess.

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    • That’s a good point. I’m flip flopping again on what I want to do, I caught myself going back to 3rd the other day. We’ll see what happens I guess! 1st person is scary though, and I’m not that confident in my writing just yet.

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  4. A great question… Many of my short stories are written in the first person, but my novels are written in a shallow third person PoV.

    The plus: there are so many characters, that I avoided the confusion a deep PoV might bring.

    The minus: people have complained of finding it hard to care about the characters (although one of them then said he spent a sleepless night worrying about the fate of one of them, because I left the book with a cliffhanger).

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