It’s Not That I Want to Eat Your Brains, I Just Want to Be Inside Your Head

Posted on 17/01/2012 by

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I have this problem. I’m a little too fond of people’s brains. Not in zombie way, in a… I want to crawl inside their heads and rummage around sort of way. (I was going to reassure you that I didn’t mean you, I meant my characters, but you know what? If I could I’d go strolling through your head too. So.) This means that when I write it’s either first person or close third (which is third person with a viewpoint that’s right up behind someone’s eye sockets). Which, you know, is fine. Those are probably the most common P.O.V.’s used in fiction. The problem is I can’t seem to stay there. I want to look out the eyes of all my characters, hear what’s going on in their heads, the difference between what they’re saying and what they’re thinking, the quiet commentary that runs alongside everything they do.

The novel I wrote during honours was multiple first person. That was just bundles and bundles of fun. (I’m being sarcastic. Except where I’m not.) It’s very cool to do but can quickly devolve into chaos. So when I wrote Path I stuck to close third and stomped firmly on my desire to be in everybody’s heads. And that worked out fine.

But Wizards… the first things I wrote for that were all over the place. I was writing it in first person but when I made notes or tossed out little scratch sections they came out in third. And I lasted about two thousand words into the story before I was writing the first person perspective of both of my main characters rather than just one. And… okay, mostly I chose first person with Wizards because there’s something I don’t want to tell the reader and the only way to avoid doing that is to write it in first person. (I know that sounds weird, but trust me. It’s the only way.)

And it’s fine while the story’s just these two guys charging about getting drunk and setting fire to things. But at some point there are going to be other characters. I know who they are, I think about there. And I rather desperately want to crawl into their skulls and poke around. This is going to be a problem.