But I find that Callie is one of the easiest-to-write characters I've ever created. Because despite all this, the one thing Callie has going for her is a big personality. She's winsome and insecure, frightened, and quaint. And her voice is so distinct that I find the character is really speaking...I'm not speaking for the character. (It does help that Fly Away Home is written in first-person.) Though I'm not a big fan of First Person Present Tense, (i.e. I come in and see that Mr. Barnett is sitting at my desk. "Great," I think, "Now I'm in for it.) I do find that one can get a sense of identification with the character quicker--if written properly--than the usual third-person narrative.
Of course third-person narrative gives you a bit more option as far as POV goes. You can switch from character to character (only one per scene, mind you) whereas in First Person that's a little trickier.
My favorite part of writing in First Person are the clues you can drop as to your protagonist's whole view on life...it's a much more intimate acquaintance with a character--being inside their head:
" 'What will I wear?' If I was like any other woman I would have asked the question of my sister or my best friend or my hairdresser…but my only sibling was dead, I didn’t have friends, and I was scared to death of the German woman who trimmed my hair."In just a few short lines you learn a lot about Callie...her mental voice, the fact that she's an only child now, she is lonely, and she has a good sense of humor. This technique is harder to accomplish (I think) when using third-person. Therefore any writer who can accomplish an intimate acquaintance with a character using third-person has my respect. I do use third-person narrative often in my own stories (The Scarlet Gypsy Song, Scuppernong Days, Cottleston Pie) but I knew when I began Fly Away Home that the only way to write Calida Harper was to give her the full stage.
Callie sees the world through a wry, half-smile. She's got a great sense of humor that comes out with her head cocked to one side. I love her so much.
"I was going to have to start scoring some vanity-points. I was in the habit of cultivating a good opinion of myself much as the average housewife is in the habit of cultivating ferns and geraniums and other plants on her windowsill. Recently we’d been in a drought in that category—my battered pride couldn’t take much more of this."
Yes she's vain and she has her faults, but the lovely thing about Callie is that she knows it and she's able to laugh at herself after the storm's over. :) It's a privilege getting so close to a character, and I am enjoying every moment of my time with Callie.
Which style of narrative do you write? What are the pros/cons of it?