Yes, I am still alive. The conversion from third person to first person is still ongoing, and I find that it is much easier to get into my POV character when writing in first person.
Actually, that’s a lie. It isn’t easier. It’s still hard to do and a pain in the butt. But first person forces me to not ignore it and not take shortcuts. I can’t blow past something with a convenient piece of telling.
I like what is coming from it though. The end of chapter three is a good example, I think. My secondary character, Jerok, is having what you might call a bad dream. The requisite “big scary dude” in the dream issues an ominous warning, then calls in magical dream-fire to torture Jerok with. Allow me to share the old version, then compare it to the new.
“Remember this night, Jerok, and who you really are. Don’t try to be something you are not. Choose your paths accordingly.” The creature hissed at him. It raised it’s arms straight out to it’s sides. Without warning, the air on either side of the creatures head split open, one above either upturned palm. Silver fire poured out of either rift and seared it’s way towards Jerok. As it consumed Jerok, he screamed soundlessly. The pain was indescribable. He fell back from the the impact of the fire streams hitting him, and rolled over onto his belly. He clamped his eyes closed, trying to find some way to block out the pain.
When he re-opened them, he was back in his cave. There was no fire, no pain.
– – – – – –
“Remember this night, Jerok, and who you really are. Don’t try to be something you are not. Choose your paths accordingly.”
What was he talking about? “Was it the wine? Did I drink too much? Was it spoiled? I really have no idea what you’re—”
He raised his hands to his side, palms up. I raised my dagger and pointed it at him. The air split open above his hands. Silver fire poured out and seared toward me. I stumbled back, but it caught me.
I fell back and rolled into a ball. The fire was inside me, boiling my blood. Muscles spasmed and I bit my tongue. Blood pooled, then poured from my mouth when I screamed. I stared, screaming, as the flesh melted from my hands. My vision blurred. I could smell my own skin charring from my body. Pain overwhelmed thought. I was slipping away.
I opened my eyes. I was back in the cave. No fire, no pain. A faint smell of burnt meat lingered in the air. I shuddered. That was definitely not a version of the dream I ever wanted to go through again. I looked down at my hand. It was still there. I sighed. Just a dream. I laughed at myself, at how jittery my nerves still were, as I climbed out of the cave into the sunlight.
– – – – – – –
There ya’ go! Re-reading it, I did see a couple spots that I am going to tweak again before it goes live on Critique Circle‘s public queue. Still, *I* think it’s a lot better.
So, now for the follow up question: How do other writers force themselves into their character’s mind? Does it just come naturally, or have you found techniques that make it happen for you? If you have any, *please* share them. Some of us need all the help we can get!
Thanks for reading!