Important Decisions Should Not Be Based on Laziness or ‘Because it’ll Make Me Laugh’

Posted on 03/10/2013 by


Right now I’m trying to figure out if this new story is in third person or first and if it’s about a boy or a girl because I’ve got chunks of text in basically every permutation.

When I start writing something new I tend to simply use ‘he’ and she’ because it’s the easiest way to distinguish two unnamed characters.* Or I’ll drop into first person and use ‘me’ and ‘them’ until I come up with something. But now I’m starting to actually write the thing I need to know this stuff.

Of course, if I decide to stick with first person I don’t have to decide about the character’s gender right away. Or possibly ever. And I kind of like that idea. But it means committing to first person. And I am still grumbling to myself about the limitations imposed by having Drink Me in first person.

Also, ‘because I can avoid making other decisions’ is not exactly a good reason for choosing a POV. The choice should be based on what’s most appropriate to the story I’m telling. To the character.

The problem is, in a lot of ways I’m still guessing at this point. I don’t really know what this project is, or who my characters are. I just have a lost of trailing ideas that I’m hoping will coalesce into something.

Right now I think this story could (should?) be told by just one person. A character who is younger than mine usually are, in that intense my-world-is-the-whole-world-and-it-is-falling-apart adolescent sort of way.

So. One character. Close focus. Unspecified gender. Feels like first person. But I don’t know. Maybe for those exact reasons it shouldn’t be. Maybe I’ll need a little distance, a little freedom to move around. So… close third?

Ehh. I’m going to go and stare at the ceiling for a while. That’ll help.


* I mean, sometimes I do it because in my head they were a boy and a girl. (Or a boy and me. Which is sort of, but not exactly the same thing.) But usually it’s just because they don’t have names yet and it’s convenient.