The Point of View Challenge

I have question for all you writers. Currently, I am working on a short story from the perspective of a nine year old girl. The story will follow the girl through a few years, possibly until the age of about 15 or 16. My problem is the point of view. For the longest time, mostly in my early writing, I could only write in the first person point of view. Granted, I did what many rookies did and chose characters that were similar to myself. This enabled me to give the characters a voice that was familiar to me. When I was feeling like my dark side needed a relief I’d make my narrator a bitch, writing sentences that I longed to tell others, but wouldn’t dare say.

When I wrote my first story in the third person, it tanked in workshop. It was terrible. God. Awful. I wrote the story after reading Dubliners, and so I was channelling my inner Joyce, which of course I don’t have because he’s a freakin’ genius and I’m not. Period. Many of the stories, if not all, are in the third person, and when I got the idea for this story that tanked, it was obvious I had been reading too much Joyce (if that is possible). So, after being traumatized by the third person, I stayed away from it.

Then I started grad school.

Well, originally I had planned my thesis to be a collection of short stories in the first person, but of course after a semester was birthed my thesis. My thesis is in the third person, and strangely enough I haven’t written anything in first person since writing my thesis. Well, that isn’t entirely true, I did write one story in the first person, and it got the same reaction as the third person story that tanked. What the heck?

So, my novel is in the third person, and I’m really struggling to decide on what to do with my narrator. I’m working on another story, that has be in the third person. So, when I work on these two stories I find myself really challenged.

I started writing the little girl story in the third person, but it doesn’t see to be working. It may not be the point of view that is the problem, it may be where I’m starting the story from. It could also be that I just suck. Recently I read a blog post from a fellow writer about how he couldn’t get going on his work until he had the right sentence, until the sentences had a rhythm. I’m starting to wonder if this is the problem. Maybe it has nothing to do with point of view. Regardless, I need to make a decision.

How do you decide on the point of view for your fiction?



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