Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saying for Writers #146 - W. Zinsser

A Quote which Might (or Might Not) Inspire You to Write:

“I almost always urge people to write in the first person… Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.” — William Zinsser.

Dixon says: I think it depends on the story. Moby Dick would have been a completely different tale if told in first person by Captain Ahab. Having the uneducated deckhand Ishmael as an unreliable narrator created a unique dynamic. Generally, though, writing in the first person – especially first person present tense – lends an air of immediacy to a story.
First person does create complications. Events taking place elsewhere must be reported to the protagonist in a realistic manner. There’s also the danger that the POV character will end up “living in the head” too much. I felt that was the case in the Hunger Games trilogy. The movie version of the first book avoided all the internal monologue, choosing instead the more traditional cinema approach of what you see is what you get. To me, the result was a more thrilling adventure, while still keeping most of the essential story elements.

1 comment:

  1. After giving one of my ARCs to my aunt and waiting for her assessment of the novel, I was surprised she couldn't get into it. She got lost in the flashbacks and didn't know what was happening while I had no trouble switching gears. It takes familiarity with a technique through extensive reading to get that kind of back-and-forth shuffling. Since there were several letters, memos, and journal entries that formed the basis of the book, that added more to her confusion.

    I read the Hunger Games trilogy and had no trouble with the deep introspection and found it added flavor to the meat on the bones. I also enjoyed the movie, but found it lacking, as I find most movies based on popular novels. Switching gears again. Deep introspection does not make for a good movie in most cases. Movies are about action while books are more about emotions combined with action.