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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Characterisation - First Person Versus Third Person

"So Dickie, (See Richard Ford and Dead Beat Mix It Up) I'm thinking about your characters. Sometimes very detailed, sometimes not so."

"Okay Dead Beat, here's the truth. I reached a point two or three years ago where I realized I wasn't doing enough of what I needed to be doing when it came to describing people. When it came to finding a way for the reader to actually physically envision people. Some of that comes with writing in the third person. Writing in the first person, a character describing herself or himself is a little unpersuasive. In the third person it becomes absolutely essential. I wanted to write in the third person because it's one of the things I feel that I don't do very well. One of the things I did was to set a task to try to make myself do it better. To try to describe people more. How they looked, what they wore, what their faces were like. I'm always reading my colleagues...Ian McKewen, for instance, He'll spend a whole paragraph doing something that I would have thought heretofore I would have got away with not doing at all. Or maybe half or a third as much. I decided I would do it more because maybe I could do it better. It might make the characters more vivid. Maybe it was just an opportunity to write, that I could seize."

So Dead Beaters think about this, first person versus third in characterisation - point of view always has advantages and disadvantages - it's a question of balance, weighing it up.

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