Month: July 2015

The “I” in a story and its purpose

Buddhist philosophy often declares that the sense of “I am” is false. That is, our existence or being isn’t defined by our perspective or thoughts. Thus, the idea of the self as we know it is false, since people are too attached to their identities. However, there is a problem that exists; we use “I” in language and not only to refer to a sense of self. Previously, most stories were written in third person because people believed in God, and the narrator often  served as an omniscient, God-like character (even if the narrator was not actually a supernatural being). 

In grammar, first person is simply used for the speaker to give a first-hand account of something, as their version. okay, this isn’t to say the I can’t be neutral, nor does it have to imply a personal sense of story. However, it is very difficult to read a story objectively when confronted with thoughts, feelings, beliefs and flaws that 3rd person narratives  allow. Plus, by only following one character action may be restricted. Problems that a writer might face could be:

  1. The writer interfering too much as the “I” 
  2. Plot holes and gaps in the story
  3. Biased views on other characters based on the narrator’s information 
  4. Too many interference of thoughts 

 However, a first person narrative might work if: 

  1. The narrator is a wallflower 
  2. There isn’t too much backstory of the narrator 
  3. It exists beside a second character perspective 
  4. The writing is descriptive and objective 

Tips: 

  1. Focus on other characters for a bit, without it sounding too much like gossip or a commentary 
  2. Use you instead of I 
  3. Use third person instead of first 
  4. Use objective log entries and journals so that more info can be given 
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