On First-Person Narration
Writing coaches love to hold forth on what narrative should be used in fiction. The current consensus is for the new writer to use the third person. The story is told from the point of view of a character in the story other than the author and usually the character’s thoughts are shared with the reader. The narration character may be changed from time to time as necessary to best advance the story. The third person narrative is simple, intuitive, and most current fiction books can be used as models.
I prefer the first person (that’s me, the author) narration of the story because for me, at least, it results in a more engaging, “happening,” narrative. I don’t have to digest and interpret what someone else thought and did; the narrative comes straight from my emotional self. Also, several writers I particularly like use the first person effectively, including H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, and Joseph Conrad. The narration can switch to the third person occasionally as required to tell the story, but this shouldn’t be done too frequently because it can be confusing for the reader.
In my current book, Free Will Odyssey, the story is tightly focused on a young man who invents a free will enhancing machine. His adventures include finding himself in a jail, a courtroom, and the White House. Since I was an inventor and experienced many aspects of the story, the first person was the natural narration to use.
Peter Tesla, a prodigious young inventor, develops an electronic device to enhance the user’s free will. A major application is drug detoxification. Peter’s star client is the U.S. president. Along the way, Peter is tried for the mysterious death of a girlfriend and struggles with the machinations of a secretive industrialist.
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About the Author
Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme.
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