So I’ve kinda, sort of, maybe, made a decision . . . I think? I’m going to continue to write my YA Science Fiction novel in 1st Person Present Tense and here’s why: (because I know you were just dying to find out 😉 )
Everything I’ve ever written including novels and short stories has been “easy”. I use quotations there, because writing isn’t easy, no matter how you slice it. I worked hard to complete my novels, polish them until they shined, develop a distinctive voice, make my characters deep, show don’t tell, etc. And none of that just flowed from the pencil (okay, fingers on keyboard) with no thought or effort. But I don’t recall struggling very much. I knew the story, so I wrote it. I received critique, and that was where I struggled the most, determining what was helpful and what was not, then I applied the critique. And so forth. I worked. It happened.
But this novel has been different. The 1st draft went pretty smoothly, but that was because I was just trying to get the story down. Revisions have left me feeling rudderless. And changing the 1st person to 3rd has been a bit of a drag. I wanted to write beautiful prose and inspire that feeling you get when reading classic novels (no, not confusion and frustration when you have no idea what they’re saying, that other one, where it sounds lyrical.) It’s not that I’m not pleased with my results in 3rd, but I’ve struggled with every word, every phrase, and still it feels disconnected from the characters. Part of me wanted to continue with 3rd because I thought it was the best way to achieve lyrical prose and not have the characters sound like tools, and because it was a challenge. I firmly believe in challenges, but this just felt unnatural.
After mulling it over for awhile, and showing a few chapters to my CP, and thinking some more, then asking everyone I could find what they thought about 1st or 3rd, I came to the decision that I felt closer to my characters in 1st, and I wanted to stay there. I could still attempt beautiful prose in 1st, and try to make the many characters each have a different voice (this may be the real tough part), and this in itself would be the challenge I needed. Besides, one of the questions I’ll ask my betas is if they think the story would be better served in 3rd. There’s always opportunity to change, and right now I feel relieved I’ve made a decisions and can get back to work!