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1st or 3rd?

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Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:52 am
ilessthan3you says...

So I'm starting to work on a new idea because I wrote my last one like Stephanie Meyer would and hate my story I'm gonna work on other ideas then maybe re-write that one.

Anyway, the plot of this one isn't completely developed yet. I'm much better at creating settings and characters than plot :/. But so far, this is what I have:
It's set far in the future, when humans have advanced further. Everyone can remember everything, including their birth. Except for one young man/older teen that is asked to write an essay(which is really research done by the government) about his birth and childhood. This makes him realizes that he has no actual memories of his childhood, and he just filled in the gap in his memory that existed until he was about 12 and lived with his aunt and uncle. Someone in leadership or close to him(not sure yet) did one of those things where they ask questions and he gives answers that suddenly seem true, if you know what I'm talking's a psychology thing. And he tries to find more about his past.

That's all I have. I'm leaning towards writing in 1st, as I normally lean towards, but I'd like to get an outside opinion on which I should use. I wrote a couple of tidbits, which normally helps me get ideas for the plotline. On is the beginning and one is a flashback. I wrote them in first, but let me know if they would be better in third.

I cursed quietly at the sight of civilization. Okay, I'd known wouldn't be able to escape forever. I doubted that anybody could ever survive for even a day without the protection of this society. The government, the system, the hiercharchy; collectively, they were the epitome of safety, the ultimate guarantee of what I'd learned used to be called the "American Dream" but was now just life. Nothing was ever unexpected in this age. Everything was controlled, planned, and set by the ones in control.
This safety was the reason I was now considered an outcast, a weirdo. Not that I ever had much of a life anyway, but now what I had was much, much worse.
With a heavy sigh, I made my way towards the bright lights and strict, uptight buildings that now made me feel like so strange of a person. Everything in the city was homogeneous, uniform. Every industrial building was set at the same height, towering over the houses, set in the same uniform fashion.

Then the flashback, which comes later:

I could not remember my birth for the life of me. Nothing of any similarity to the stories my peers told was embedded in my memory. But wait, I parents had died, and I'd gone to live with my aunt and uncle, hadn't I? For some reason, I'd always told myself that, never quite believing it...
"Have you written anything?" My professor was peering down from behind me and scrutinizing - or would have been, if there was anything there - my paper.
I raised my eyes from the blank screen in front of me to look up at her. It wasn't the most comfortable position, having to look up and back, but as she was already irritated, it was probably best to make eye contact.
I ignored the resulting stares from my classmates. None of them actually cared, but an excuse to procrastinate the essay was an excuse.
Normally, the screen would see my lack of activity and try to prompt me to do something. It had, in fact, done so, until its constant nagging and pleading caused me to spend my allotted writing time fiddling with the commands until I figured out how to turn off its voice. While I was doing the fiddling, though, it certainly wasn't happy with me. It was definitely lucky that its speech was audible only in my thoughts and not to anybody listening.

Neither of these are finished, or connected. But writing things like this help me connect the plot and everything, so I did. And the flashback is probably going to change since I added more in my brain while typing the description, haha.

Should I keep it in 1st or do you think third would be better?

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Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:16 pm
Kyllorac says...

Which do you think is better? You know more about the story than we ever will, after all, so you're the best one to figure out which person would be best. ;P

In all honesty, I've found that it really depends on the story. One novel of mine, I started writing in multiple persons because that seemed the best thing at the time, but as I went along, I realized that, as much as I loved the first-person sections, the limitations of first-person were hindering the larger story. And so I wound up switching to third-person entirely (rather than the mix of first and third I was writing previously), though I still hold out hope that I can figure out how to fit the first-person back in in a later draft.

You might find, as you go along in the first draft, that certain persons may be better for certain sections, or that the story is more naturally told from one person. Go with it, and if the person changes along the way, don't be afraid to change it; the first draft is for getting the ideas down onto paper, while the second and beyond drafts are for polishing and making all the ideas work.

From the sounds of it, first-person seems to come more naturally for you and this story, so try writing it in first-person. If it doesn't work out, there's always another draft.
Screwing with gender since 1995.

There are no chickens in Hyrule.

Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind