I’m not really talking about Story with ice cream, although that does make for an interesting thought — and probably a sticky keyboard later. (Or not, you filthy-minded heathens…) What I’m really talking about are the narrative modes that we come across in our reading.
There’s First Person Narrative; I suppose you could say this blog is mostly a first person narrative, considering I’m usually the one telling the story. From my recent reading, I recall it best in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, telling the story from the point-of-view of the erstwhile Harry Dresden.
I came. I saw. I conquered.
There’s the little-seen Second Person Narrative, I seem to recollect them from my days of reading “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. I can’t seem to recall any fiction I’ve read recently that uses this mode, but according to wikipedia, there are plenty.
You came. You saw. You conquered.
And then there’s the sturdy staple of Third Person Narrative, in which the bulk of much of the fiction I’ve read.
They came. They saw. They conquered.
I often struggle with mode; on the one hand, I like rooting myself into one character and experiencing the world I create through them, so First Person Narrative almost seems ideal; on the other hand, I like just telling the story sometimes, rather than trying to live it vicariously, so Third Person seems better. Second Person just seems downright awkward.
Is there a right choice? Is there a wrong one? I suppose it would entirely depend on whom you would ask. There are some writers within my circle that would say they hate working in first person, others decry the usage of third. There seems to be no set standard beyond writing for whatever you’re comfortable with. I will sometimes begin two versions of a story, one in both First and Third Person formats to see which I have an easier time writing in. Other times, the narrative grips me from the start and that’s just how I proceed.
I suppose the creative well-to-do out there will tell you that it is entirely dependent on the story you’re telling and what your goal is and give you a lengthy dissertation on the merits of each. As a humble writer in some out of the way pocket of the world, I can only tell you what I know: write whatever you feel inspired to write, in whatever way you are inspired to write it.
You never know, your ala mode may come with hot fudge and peanuts on it, someone else’s may be with strawberry syrup and a cherry on top. Regardless of how you serve it up, as long as you enjoy what you do and relish it, that’s what matters.
Cripes. Now I really want some ice cream.