Writing in first person can help build intimacy with the reader by conveying greater authenticity.

This article will explore the dos and don’ts of first-person writing, along with examples for greater conceptual clarity.

Summary

  • What is the first Person POV?
  • Tips to Write in First Person
  • Examples of Effective First-Person Writing
  • Unleash the Power of Storytelling with First Person POV

What is the First Person POV?

First-person writing uses personal pronouns such as I, me, mine, we, and ours. Here the writer narrates their own experience. The reader is thus better able to understand the thoughts, experiences, and emotions of the writer/narrator.

Tips to Write in the First Person

Consider using the following tips to create a flawless piece of first-person narrative:

  1. Create and Establish a Unique Voice

Since you want to create a distinct image in the reader’s mind, build a voice/style of writing that brings out the personality/ individuality of the character you want to portray.

Note: A lot would also depend on the audience you want to reach. The example cited above would be great to engage with readers of travel/lifestyle blogs.

  1. Keep It Real!

First person narratives must be authentic, which is why it’s important to share the genuine reactions/ responses of the narrator to create a sense of intimacy with the readers.

  1. Explore the Intimate Intricacies

Human nature is complex, so as you write in first person make sure to provide intimate details, or rather an in-depth introspection into the very mind of the character. The greater the details shared, the clearer and deeper would be the insights gained into the character’s motivation and personality.

  1. Help the Readers Resonate

Help the readers better analyze the character in terms of their fears, hopes and desires. This way, the readers will better empathize with the character as they find that their experiences aren’t very different from the character they are studying.

  1. Don’t Use Excessive Self-reflection

If your first-person narrative comprises only self-reflection, it is likely to deter the overall reader experience by seeming more like a monologue. To avoid such monotony, try to use different elements such as “self-refection”, “action” and “dialogue”.

Maintaining a balance between reflection and action will also help ensure that the narrative remains engaging and unfolds at a steady pace.

  1. Leave Some Breathing (Reading) Space!

While you may be tempted to say it all, to keep things interesting, make sure to leave room for interpretation so that the readers are able to interpret the events and the characters on their own.

  1. Curb the “I”

When you think of first-person writing, it’s easy to get too generous with the use of “I”. But, bombarding your content with excessive “I”, will only make it look monotonous. Instead, try to vary the sentence structure and include dialogues where possible to prevent repetitive narrative.

  1. Don’t Forget to Develop the Secondary Characters

Use events and dialogues to build up the secondary characters, giving the readers a better viewpoint of the entire situation.

  1. Use Unreliable Narrators

Consider experimenting with unreliable narrators to add to the complexity of the narrative. This way, the readers will be compelled to question the authenticity/ validity of the narrator’s perceptions in light of the additional information shared.

  1. Don’t Just Tell, Show Them!

Even though you are using words to share the narrative, you can still use dialogues, actions and reflections to paint an image that clearly depicts the emotions and thoughts of the character. Use visceral descriptions to help the readers visualize what’s going on at the moment.

  1. Prioritize the Setting

Build up the setting of the story to give readers a greater perspective of the situation in which the story unfolds.

Examples of Effective First-Person Writing

Example 1: Personal Essay

“In my first solo trip to Venice, the unknown streets looked like a canvas waiting to be painted with my experiences. Each turn revealed a new brushstroke of adventure, made lively with the brightest paint.”

Example 2: Fiction

“I can’t remember how our eyes met. But in that moment it seemed like I had known him, forever. His hazel eyes peered into my dark ones and for a moment, the world as we know it, stood still.”

Example 3: Memoir

“As I stood at the threshold of change, my reflection in the mirror seemed like a stranger, both familiar and enigmatic, signaling the beginning of an unprecedented chapter in my life.”

Unleash the Power of Storytelling with First Person POV

Writing a first-person narrative is indeed a powerful way to forge an unbreakable chord of intimacy between the reader and the narrator as they sojourn through the latter’s emotions, thoughts and experiences.

Authenticity and consistency are the building blocks on which the entire narrative rests while action, dialogue and self-reflection are the steps on which the narrator’s world unfolds. As we empathize with the narrator and live through their struggles, triumphs and revelations, we find ourselves growing with the narrator throughout the plot.

Indeed, first-person narratives have the power to transform and bring to light what was long lost and forgotten, leaving an indelible mark on the readers long after they have read through the last pages.