The challenge of writing first person

Most would think being able to tell a story using the word ‘I’ would be easy. I’m here to tell you it’s by far a greater challenge (to me) than writing 3rd person.

For the last 4 days I have spent an hour or 2 each evening, chugging out ‘story’ for First Kiss(es) in 1st person. In this scenario, my narrator, Ree, refers to herself as ‘I’.

Seems simple to write then, right? Just tell the story.

But that’s the problem. “I” tends to just ‘tell’ the story instead of leading me down the path of showing the story. What in the world does this mean? 🙂 Well, if you’re a writer, you know. If you’re a reader, you’ve probably never even seen the difference.

The key in showing a story is not just saying ‘I was unhappy’ but giving you the reader the action, reaction, dialog, descriptions of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch that imply being unhappy.

Writing 1st person it’s so much easier to skip those 5 senses and that’s exactly what I find myself doing! Ah!

Yes, I will go back and fill in … I do that anyway, but I see the faults like big bright neon signs a day later … vs. while I’m writing. I never seemed to have that ‘problem’ in writing 3rd person.

Go figure.

I set the challenge, and I will succeed! (because that’s just who I am) but boy it’s definitely … a challenge.

So far, poor Ree is in the midst of a life upheaval, and she just has no idea why. 🙂 At 17, the good girl has no idea what’s coming and it’s not pretty.

I’m over 10,000 words in the story which is way father than I’d thought I’d ever get with 1st person writing, but it’s working out …. quite well.

How about you? How’s your nano project coming? What challenges are you finding with writing something different (if that was your plan in the first place)?