Adventures in the 3rd Person

Random picture of sail boats to imply an adventure.

Joe decided to write a book in the 3rd person.

I think that sentence is the first sentence I have ever publicly written in the 3rd person. I had to think about it quite a bit before I was able to get myself to type it out.

Why is this important (if to no one else but me)? I suppose there’s nothing really important about it. Maybe intriguing is a better word. So why it is intriguing? I think I need to start at the beginning in order to get to the end.

First, a lengthy caveat on what is to follow. While I have self-published three books, I am by no means a professional writer. As to quality of those books I am a poor judge, though I suspect they are at least not terrible. Any thoughts on writing to follow are certainly not intended as thoughts on how to write.

So then to begin. I’ve decided to write a work of fiction in the 3rd person. Which unto itself is a completely unintriguing and uninteresting development. The intrigue is going to come from the fact that in all three previous books I have written and the hundreds of blog posts I have done over the years, they have all been written in 1st person. (In the spirit of full disclosure, back in high school and college as part of creative writing classes, I did write a few short stories in 3rd person).

I am extremely comfortable writing in the 1st person (whether I am good is an unrelated discussion). I find I am able to become the voice of that person and allow that voice to drive the development of the character. And since I like to write character driven stories, I can let the character tell their story in ways that I hadn’t envisioned. I don’t know where the story will go and I am okay with. I am not intimidated by the unknown. I even use this approach when I do abstract painting. I do not know where ethe painting is going and I let the painting lead me there. So this approach is very engrained. I mean, it’s still a struggle and a challenge to write, but that is my comfort zone.

So the intrigue comes from having no idea how I will handle stepping out of that comfort zone into the world of 3rd person narrative. Even on cursory examination I see a long list of activities and behaviors I have never attempted. I see activities that seem on the surface to be antithetical to the person I perceive myself to be.

I am not delusion enough to think that my experience will be unique. In fact, I hope others can relate to whatever challenges and bumbles I encounter. Though keeping true to myself with this journey, I have no idea what shall happen and how I might communicate it. So I’ve got that going for me.

Stay tuned for the first step of my journey. I’ll be intrigued to find out what that is.

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