See My Point (of View)?

Phew, what a tough one.

That short story, the one that had been gathering dust in a drawer and that I needed outside motivation to start working on? Yeah, that one. I re-wrote it in a different point of view and felt like it opened up to me. It felt like I had made the right choice, finally, It felt good.

I’m still editing it. I just got critique on it from my writing group and I’ve got some more work to do on it, but I think in the next week or two, I’ll be ready to start submitting it to magazines and other publications.

Which means, I’ll be getting back to my novel.

Yeah, yeah, I didn’t get to round 2 of my novel edits when I said I would. I didn’t get to much of anything the last couple weeks. There’s been a bit of a clusterfuck with one of my projects that required my attention. There was also Apex Legends and Enderal. Felt good to game a little again, but I got my fill after a few days and wasn’t sucked back into that dark place. That clusterfuck is also getting handled.

But what I want to talk about is the short story. What clicked, how, and what it meant.

I changed the point of view from third person to first. I changed the tense to present. I reframed the narrative so that the narrator is speaking to his loved on directly.

At first, it felt pretentious. I usually think first person is pretentious. I tolerate it a lot better in short stories, but in full length novels I just can’t get on board. I know that’s my own failing. I know that Borne by Jeff Vandermeer and N.K. Jemsin’s the Fifth Season are highly celebrated and critically acclaimed, but first person point of view killed those for me.

But here I am with a first person short story in hand and, damn it, it feels right. I felt emotionally connected to the person I was writing. I sunk into it. It was an amazing feeling. The feeling of it being pretentious, the Imposter Syndrome, still creeps into my mind when I think about it, but I remind myself of how it felt when I was rewriting it. Of the warm sensation, like sinking into bathwater, as I got in this guy’s head and wrote as him.

It was beautiful.

What did I learn? Not much. First person still makes me feel weird when I read it. I still have Imposter Syndrome. But I did learn that I can write in first person sometimes. That I’m able to make the right decision to connect with what I’m writing and produce something I can actually feel decent about.

Ha, such high hopes, right? Let us all strive to produce something we feel decent about… Such lofty goals.

Baby steps, friends. We can get there. Eventually.

A.P. ThayerComment