One Quick Tip for Effective First-Person Writing

by Ruthanne Reid | 107 comments

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First-person perspective is kind of like cheese: some people love it, some people hate it, and when it's poorly done, it grates.

Sorry for the pun.

I personally love first-person point of view, and it is my joy to share one simple, quick writing tip that can help your first-person perspective writing shine: cut the filter words.

One Quick Tip for Effective First-Person Writing

First of All, What Is Point of View?

What the heck is a filter word, you ask? Before I answer that, let's tackle some definitions for point of view.

Need help with point of view? To get a cheat sheet of the two most common POVs used in fiction, click here.

“Point of View” (POV) is the writer-ly term for the perspective through which you tell your story. It usually breaks down like this:

Third-Person POV

This means telling your story as “She did” and “He said,” never “I.” There are three kinds:

  • Third-Person Narrator or Omniscient Narrator POV. In this perspective, you—the storyteller—are everywhere and know everything. You can be in anyone's life, around any corner. A leaf fell in the park, and none of your characters saw it? You did, and you can write it down. There are no limitations to this viewpoint, though it can be difficult to make it feel personal.
  • Third-Person Multiple POV. In this perspective, the author uses the viewpoints of a particular set of individuals. This one's a lot easier to work with for one major reason: your reader only knows what these characters know, allowing your plot to unfold naturally. There's no outside knowledge, no Unbeknownst to everyone, the water main broke beneath the garage and began to flood the driveway. If your characters didn't see it, then the reader won't know about it until somebody steps in mud. This perspective is told through the eyes of that pre-set group of people in “He/She did it” fashion.
  • Third-Person Limited POV. This is where you follow one person, but this still one step removed from the personal nature of first-person. This is still told as “She,” not “I,” and it's challenging. The temptation is to slip into narrator mode and describe something happening outside your character, but to do this right, you have to limit the story to what that character knows, sees, hears, and thinks.

Second-Person POV

Very few effectively use second person narration (though now that I've said it, I'll bet several of you will jump to the challenge). Essentially, it's telling the story like talking to yourself. “You went to the fridge and slid the frosted drawer free, but to your amazement, it was full of beans. You had no idea what to do next. You expected avocados.”

You. You do this and that; not he, not I. You.

This is usually reserved for instruction manuals and other non-fiction essays (like this one).

Some fiction writers can really pull this off (I'm looking at you, Choose Your Own Adventure series). I am not one of them. On we go.

First Person POV

First-person perspective is essentially told like a journal entry, a personal narrative, or a running commentary of thoughts. The reader is not watching the story unfold from the outside, but through this character's eyes. We see what they see and hear what they hear. If the character is wrong, we won't necessarily know, because their perspective is all we have to go on. There is no distance between the reader and the character's thoughts.

First-person point of view generally gets split up into two types:

  • Present tense. This is where you write, I go to the door and scream at him to go away, all in present tense, putting you in the action at the exact time the character experiences it. It's challenging; it's also fun. Slipping into past tense, however, can make it pretty clunky.
  • Past tense. This is more popular (and a lot simpler to write): I went to the door and screamed at him to go away.This one always feels more like a story being told, and is a good place to start for first-time first-person writers.

So what makes first person perspective so wonderful in some cases and so terrible in others?

There are plenty of factors such as:

  • Pacing (the timing of incidents in the story, including what's kept in and what's left out);
  • Voice (everyone's thought patterns won't sound the same; I adore Joss Whedon's shows, but everybody can't be that witty all the time);
  • Reliability (how truthful/accurate your narrator is); etc.

Now that you know the different types of point of view, let's move on to that one tip that can help you write better first person point of view. Here's the tip: eliminate filter words.

What Are Filter Words?

A filter word puts distance between the reader and your character, filtering that character's experience. Let's look at an example to get a better sense:

This was magic school? I stood and stared at it; I thought it seemed to be set up to depress us. I saw the green hill rising from the earth like some kind of cancer, and I could hear the voices of students on the wind, chanting soullessly, as if the wonder and awe of true magic had been whitewashed from their lives.

Not sure what to look for? Here it is with the filter words removed.

This was magic school? It seemed to be set up to depress us. The green hill rose from the earth like some kind of cancer, and the voices of students carried on the wind, chanting soullessly, as if the wonder and awe of true magic had been whitewashed from their lives.

What did I remove? I thought, I saw, I could hear. In other words, I removed anything that had you, the reader, looking at her looking at things, rather than looking at the things she saw.

How to Spot Your Filter Words, with Examples

Filter words can be difficult to see at first, but once you catch them, it becomes second nature. “I heard the music start up, tinny and spooky and weird,” vs. “The music started up, tinny and spooky and weird.” One is outside, watching him listen; the other is inside his head, hearing it with him.

“I saw the dog, brown and shaggy.” You're watching the character see the dog. “The dog was brown and shaggy.” Now you're seeing what the character sees, and there is no space between you and the character.

I'm going to give you one more example from my own work. Here it is with filter words added:

I watched the box blow apart, double-thick cardboard smacking to the counter. Inside, I saw a tiny, perfect, snow-white dragon.

A dragon. On my kitchen counter. I heard it squeak at me, which I thought could mean absolutely anything, and I watched as it began to preen itself like a cat.

I saw mother-of-pearl scales gleaming all over its ridiculously long, thin neck. I stared at the wee round-bellied body, resting on tiny curved legs and a tail long enough to balance that neck. I noticed its head was a drawn-out diamond, long and narrow, and its snout was so thin that the flare of its nostrils only emphasized the entire disproportionate cuteness of the whole package.

I’d never seen anything so adorable in my life.

And with filter words removed:

The box blew apart, double-thick cardboard smacking to the counter. Inside sat a tiny, perfect, snow-white dragon.

A dragon. On my kitchen counter. It squeaked at me, which could mean absolutely anything, and began to preen itself like a cat.

Mother-of-pearl scales gleamed all over its ridiculously long, thin neck. The wee round-bellied body rested on tiny curved legs and a tail long enough to balance that neck. Its head was a drawn-out diamond, long and narrow, and its snout was so thin that the flare of its nostrils only emphasized the entire disproportionate cuteness of the whole package.

I’d never seen anything so adorable in my life.

The second example gives you Kate's point of view through her eyes and ears. The first one forces you to watch her seeing and hearing—and takes us away from her experience.

Are Filter Words Ever Okay?

Because I love ya, I will state that there are plenty of valid exceptions. There will be times that your first-person perspective uses those filter words to great effect.

For example, “I see the shelves, and I see the counter, but I don't see the scissors,” expresses your character's frustration, which is more important than the counter and shelves he's seeing. It's a matter of emphasis and where you want the reader's thoughts to go.

Filter words can be stylistic, largely tied to voice. I have one character from the deep south, for example, who tends to use them as part of his storytelling: “And then I look over there, and what do I see but that damn fool, makin' off with my breakfast.”

There will always be times to use filter words, but it's crucial that you only use them when you're aware of it, not by accident. If you're ever in doubt, just ask yourself this question: where do you want your reader's eyes to be?

 Need help with point of view? To get a cheatsheet of the two most common POVs used in fiction, click here.

How about you? Which point of view do you write in most? Let us know in the comments.


It's time to take what you've learned about filter words and first-person perspective and apply them to your writing.

Write for ten minutes in first person, using as many filter words as you can. (Need a prompt? Here's one: “I see the shelves, and I see the counter, but I don't see the scissors.”)

Then, for the next five minutes, remove all the filter words.

Share your two versions in the practice box. And don't forget to leave feedback for three other writers!

Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.

Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.

When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.

P.S. Red is still her favorite color.


  1. Coach Brown

    Very good. I am working with my co-writer on a major novel written in first person. It is harder but can bring the reader into the mind and senses of the story-teller which in my case is the protagonist trying to workout wrongs made in a small town. The filter is so imperative and requires careful editing. Thanks.

    • ruthannereid

      I’m glad you found it helpful!

  2. Helene Thomas

    Wow, very informative, thanks for the info 🙂

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks, Helene! It’s my pleasure. 🙂

  3. Teresa Buczinky

    Fabulous. I’ll be using this with my creative writing students in the fall. Thank you!

    • ruthannereid

      I’m delighted to hear that, Teresa!

  4. Ginny Polema

    This is great. And also very useful for third person. For example, in Rainbow Rowell’s || Eleanor & Park ||, the reader is several pages in before she realizes the story is told in third person in alternate chapters from both character’s perspectives. The filter words are removed and the 3rd person voice is very, very close. Such a well written book!

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks, Ginny! That’s one of my to-read books. 🙂

  5. Marilyn Ostermiller

    Children’s fiction, set in Minnesota in 1928

    Finally. It’s the day I’ve longed for, the first day of school since we moved. I saved my best dress for today, the one Mama made me from a flour sack. The cornflower print makes my eyes look even bluer. My eyes are my best feature, even if I do say so myself.

    “Liiy, wake up! This is no time for you to be a sleepy head! I refuse to be late for school. Mama won’t let us out the door without breakfast. Let’s get going.”

    Silence. Not even a mumble. Oh, she heard me alright. She just pulled the blanket over her head.

    “I’m gonna count to ten and then I’m going down for breakfast. One, two, I’m braiding my hair; three, four, five, I’ve got my dress on; six, seven, eight, I’m brushing my teeth.”

    “Oh, okay, I’ll get up,” Lily said, reluctantly sitting up on the cot we shared in the sleeping loft.

    “That wasn’t so bad, was it? Get your dress on and I’ll brush your hair.”

    • ruthannereid

      Nice! How did it feel? I love the flour-sack-dress detail. 🙂

  6. Robert Ranck

    Ruthanne, I do not know where you are, but I’d bet the light of that Mazda bulb over my head coming on will shine to wherever you may be – at least I hope it does.

    You have illuminated a concept that I have been stumbling over in total darkness for over half a century. I see, and my life is blessed. Thank you.


    • ruthannereid

      Thanks, Robert! I’m really, really glad to hear that. It took me forever to understand what “filter words” meant, but once it kicked in, I wanted the whole world to know. 🙂

  7. Kashiefah Chetty

    I always get caught up in writing my story that I don’t pay attention to anything else. I still have lots to learn.

    The box lay unopened on the floor. She was nowhere to be found. Her closet stood gaping like the gawking of a mouth in shock. The air smelt of betrayal. No one smelled it but him. Their children were in the other room playing dutifully like nothing was amiss. He knew something was wrong. The box felt cold to his touch, which is normal for metal, but he felt a cold shiver run up his spine. Opening it was painful. Inside were papers. Papers giving him the rights to everything. She didn’t want any of it. Not the children, not the farm, not the business. Not him.

    • ruthannereid

      Wow, what a gut-punch! I can feel how rough this moment is for him.

  8. LilianGardner

    I enjoy writing in first-person and Ruthanne, your article is particularly useful in showing how to improve writing by limiting filter words.

    I think writing in the past tense is easier though I’d like to try writing in the present tense. I recently finished a novel which is written in the third person and present tense and loved the way the author made me participate as if I was an invisible onlooker.
    Thanks for sharing your own work with us about the dragon and giving other examples of

    writing in first and third person.
    There’s always so much to learn about writing, grammar and punctuation, and I’m pleased when I see that the old rules are still valid.

    • ruthannereid

      Learning more about writing is always fun for me! I’m glad you found this useful. First-person present-tense is a challenge, but when pulled off, it’s terrific fun.

  9. Carrie Lynn Lewis


    Thanks for a great explanation of point of view. Most of it I’d already heard, but your tips on first person filtering are excellent. I have at least two manuscripts written in first person that will benefit greatly.

    I have used second person on one manuscript. I don’t intend to write the entire story that way, but whenever I hit a brick wall, I switch to second person to see what happens. It’s a great brick-wall breaker.

    Thanks again for the information and best wishes,


    • ruthannereid

      Kudos to you for your second-person writing! It’s tough. 🙂 I’m really glad the filter-words info helped you!

  10. Christine

    Your article has been really informative, Ruthanne. I can see where I need to sharpen up on this and will second-edit some of the First Person stories I’ve already written.

    Two birds with one stone: What posting here is also my offering for today’s WordPress writing prompt. We are to start the story and leave the reader’s imagination to finish it. This “creative non-fiction” is an incident that happened to my sister when she was thirteen.

    “So have you bought your grad dress yet?” Wendy asks. “Just a few weeks till the big bash.”

    Wendy’s words are like a sympathetic pat on my shoulder, but I picked up the trace of hopelessness, too. After all, she’s my best friend now, so of course she knows.

    Wendy’ Dad’s a farmer. He’s making a good living and they seem to be careful how they spend their bucks, so they can afford stuff. My dad doesn’t work and my mom practically lives at the bar. Food is sometimes pretty scarce at our house. Fat chance there’ll be any money for a Grade Eight grad gown. Wendy knows as well as I do how unlikely it’ll be for me to show up in anything other than a Sally Ann special.

    I put on my happy face anyway. “Maybe next week. Our Welfare check comes on Tuesday. Dad could give me the money then. Hey! Maybe I’ll even skip school that day and go to the bank with him when he cashes the check.” Though Dad’s usually broke, he sometimes gets a generous spurt if you catch him at the right moment.

    Wendy and I come to the last street corner before I have to head home. She and I stand for a minute with nothing more to say, just looking down the hill toward my house. Night is falling fast and the road feels kind of spooky. Sometimes I really wish we lived right in town.

    Then Wendy wags her finger at me, like she’s my mom. “You go straight home now — no talking to strangers!”

    She makes me laugh. That helps. “Yes, Mom. If I see any, I won’t.”

    She turns to go home. I wave goodbye, then head toward the lights of our house, half a mile down that road. Sure, it isn’t much, but it’s home and our family’s pretty happy there. I’m sure glad my friends in this new place can’t see the shack we lived in before.

    I’m only a little ways down the hill when the headlights of a car appear on the other side of the valley, coming on fast. The car roars downhill, hits the bottom, then starts up my side. The bright headlights almost blind me. Since it’s coming toward me and the road is gravel, I step aside into the grass so I won’t get hit by flying stones.

    But the car doesn’t pass. The old clunker of a car skids to a stop right beside me and two older teen guys hop out from the passenger side. With the door open I can see the driver and another guy in the back seat.

    “Hey, chick, wanna ride?” One of the guys calls out. Suddenly I’m scared.

    “Come on, babe, get in,” the other guy orders. “We wanna give you a ride.”

    Now I’m shaking. “No,” I yell as loud as I can. Is there anyone else around to hear me?

    I circle around the car and get onto the road again, trying to stay out of their reach, but they’re running after me. One of them makes a grab at me; I feel his hands yank on the back of my T-shirt, pulling me backwards.

    “No,” I scream again, struggling to free myself from his grip.” By now the other one’s grabbing at my arm. I struggle to keep my balance as my feet slide on the gravel.

    • ruthannereid

      YIKES! I hope she gets away! This is a terrific example of first-person without the filter words. You definitely got the hang of it.

    • Christine

      Thanks, Ruthanne. I’ve posted the story on my blog in first person, but in past tense. Now I should get to work on the conclusion and post it later. Folks can read it at

      I had a hard time picking a title for this story! It was a hard exercise, too, as I kept wanting to put in filter phrases like “I told her…” I was even cautious about using dialogue tags, as the narrator knows how they said something, but I had to do some so the reader would know, too. How does one do dialogue tags without filters like “And then he told me…”?

    • ruthannereid

      Dialogue tags fall under the same basic idea! There will be times when the speaker is really feeling that I TOLD HIM stuff, and then you want to put it in because the focus is on the speaker’s action.

      “And then he told me the truth” emphasises the impact of it. The timing of it. The way that, for the speaker, that moment was the anvil-drop.

      Otherwise, you’d just say what he said. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but I can explain more!

    • Christine

      Yes, I get that part.

      I also wondered about her description of where she lived, as she wouldn’t have to remind herself that she lived partway down into the valley — but the reader needs to know the setting. This is even more important later as the event unfolds.

    • ruthannereid

      She could think of it if she were reacting to it in some way. Enjoyment, annoyance… something. Some observation that would be natural for an individual to make about where they lived. 🙂

    • Cathy Ryan

      Nice job! The tension in this is really high and you’ve created a sympathetic character. I want her to escape!

  11. Caroline

    From me to you: THANK YOU. This is exactly what I needed. Now I need to review my entire book and cut these!

    • ruthannereid

      You’re so welcome, Caroline!

  12. Cathy Ryan

    Excellent examples! They demonstrate the concept very clearly. Thank you!

    My practice:

    Duncan is watching from the gate so I keep my head down, grip and pinch and pull weeds as fast as I can. Who knows when he will allow me out here again? Weeds grow
    thick between the tomato rows. Green tomatoes, some bigger than hens’ eggs,
    hang from the vines. They were only blossoms last I was here. Cool rain patters
    on the back of my head, dribbles behind my ears and drips off my chin. My shirt
    is plastered chill against my shoulders and back, a wet relief from yesterday’s
    heat. Mud cakes the bottoms of my feet, squeezes between my toes with every
    step. Cardinal and towee and flycatcher call from the tree tops, claiming their
    territories. The electric fence surrounding the garden tics an incessant pulse.


    I stand quickly so he won’t come looking. “Sir.”

    “Alright,” he growls.

    I duck between the rows again, out of his sight, and breathe with relief. Suddenly I have an idea how to get out of here.

    • ruthannereid

      Oh, VERY well done! Welcome, Cathy. 🙂 I hope you find the Write Practice helpful!

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Hi, Cathy: This was great! I am right there with her; I can feel the rain running down my neck, the chill of a wet garment and mud between my toes. What happens next? Who is she? Who is he? Look forward to more.

  13. Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

    Hi, Ruthanne: I am new to WP and loving it! Here’s my practice:

    The Customs and Immigration Hall is packed with people, so much so that I almost cannot exit the escalator as i reach the floor. To my left is the area for First Class passengers – apparently, they will be processed more quickly than the rest of us.

    Halfway down the concourse is a sign directing those with e Tourist Visas; as if sensing my intent to proceed, I am swallowed by the crowd, floating with them as a single entity, like an amoeba, only comprised of humanity.

    I struggle to understand the Customs official in front of me – the jet lag is mighty, as is his Indian accent. In desperation, he gestures to the sign posted on the the podium in which he is seated. Enlightened, I place my fingers on the bio-metric fingerprint device – first my left hand, then my right, and then my two thumbs. He smiles and gives me a “thumbs up”, then gestures to the camera… obediently, I step in front of it. His hands tell me to back up… more… still more… stop!

    “Welcome to India,” he says deliberately in his heavy Indian accent. His smile is warm and his eyes amused as he hands my passport back to me.

    Duty Free Shopping engulfs me as I exit the Immigration area; all around me are sales people only too eager to assist me in finding my hearts’ desire. I am relieved to discover that they leave me alone when I decline assistance – they simply smile and with hands in flattened prayer position in front of them, acknowledge my departure with a nod and a quiet word, “Namaste”.

    The area opens to a huge, air-conditioned Arrivals hall, with vaulted ceilings and a wall of sliding doors to the outside. The area is busy, but the congestion eases. All around me are families and friends, greeting one another with excited chatter, tears and joy. Colorful Saris in every hue of the rainbow capture my attention; exotic smells and fragrances assault my exhausted senses.

    Guarev, the Arrivals Concierge with whom I’ve corresponded but not yet met, is holding a sign with my name on it, and gratefully, I introduce myself to him. He is beautiful; tall and athletic, with large, dark eyes, thick, shiny, jet-black hair and strong features, he is wearing a dove grey suit with a white shirt and silver tie. His smile is quick and genuine, his English fluent.

    He takes command of my bags and (as if by invisible tether) guides me smoothly through the throngs of people waiting outside the terminal to the car he has arranged on my behalf. The heat is intense, the smells amplified and the humidity has me perspiring in only the short walk to the car… a loud horn blasts as Guarev and I step too close to the curb. I jump, startled; Guarev takes my arm and puts me into the air conditioned vehicle. Safe at last, I relax into the leather seats for the short ride to my hotel.

    We pull slowly into away from the curb, the driver masterfully maneuvering through cars, motorcycles and pedestrians – even bicycles! He manages somehow to move forward despite a literal sea of humanity and vehicles, all honking, shouting, gesturing. This first glimpse at the chaos is wrestles with my sense of propriety, and with relief I am again grateful that although fascinated, I am insulated from all of it.

    • LilianGardner

      Thanks for your post, Colleen. It is descriptive to the point where I’m by you side, sharing every thing with you.
      I left the Indian sub-continent ages ago, but after reading your post I gather not much has changed, except for the taking of finger-prints at the airport.
      The chaotic traffic on roads is familiar, and you’ve described it so well. It seems it will never change because it’s a part of the culture.
      In my days cattle, in particular buffaloes, were herded down the roads, and traffic either stopped or drivers weaved in and out of the chaos with admirable composure. Did you get a glimpse of cheeky monkeys?

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Hi, Lillian – I saw cattle, and depending on where we were, all traffic either stopped or slowed and wove around, as you say. I have some great photos!

      I saw the cheeky monkeys in Agra, close to Taj Mahal. There is a building there that has been abandoned and none of the locals wanted to take on the repairs, so it appears that the monkeys have moved in. My guide said if you walk close to that building when they are most active they will throw things at you, steal things off your person or your bag, etc! Fascinating place. Thanks for your comments!

    • LilianGardner

      Thanks Colleen for bringing me up-to-date on the country. It seems as if nothing has changed. I’m scared of monkeys. They can be very aggressive.
      I admire the way Indians take everything in their stride… cows roaming freely, eating veggies and fruit from the stalls, monkeys and even cobras don’t seem to bother them.

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Ha ha – yes, I did notice that very little seems to bother the people. I am happy to say that I did not have opportunity to meet or observe a cobra! I get the shivers even thinking about snakes, so that would have been more than I would care to see during my first trip there.

    • ruthannereid

      Fantastic sample! You’ve definitely got the hang of first-person. It’s descriptive without leaving her (his?) head. I hope to see more from you!

    • Colleen Risdahl-Hamilton

      Thank you, Ruthann! You will see more, with pleasure!

  14. Janet Smart

    Great post and tips! Good examples to go by.

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks, Janet!

  15. Elizabeth Varadan

    Great post. I love your example of “filter words”. They are really the kind of words you don’t even realize you are using. I’m writing a book in first person (which the story seemed to call for), and I really like it for a change. But I’ve bookmarked this post as a good touchstone while I’m working on it.

    • ruthannereid

      That’s fantastic, Elizabeth! I look forward to whatever you write!

  16. Pamela Hodges

    Ruthanne Reid,
    I LOVE this article. Especially the part on “filler words.” I will use this post in a Short Story class I will be teaching next fall.
    And, I am going to print it out to use as a reference.
    Now I will go and look for filler words in my last story.
    For shame, little filler words.

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks a ton, Pamela! I’m really, really glad it’s helpful. 🙂 It took me forever to figure it out, so explaining it simply is a challenge!

  17. Katina Vaselopulos

    Because of problems with my mail, I did not see this post until Pamela Hodges shared on Facebook. Thank you, Ruthanne! Thank you, Pamela!
    I love this arcticle! Feels good that last week I could finally deal with most of the “I”s and “Me”s in a couple of my essays.
    Going back to filter our some more.
    I have a special folder with all the great tips from Joe’s block.
    Definitely saving this one!

    Joy and inspiration,
    Katina Vaselopulos

    • ruthannereid

      Wow, Katina, I’m so glad! I’m delighted this is helping you!

  18. Willow M

    This article is very helpful. I don’t normally write in first-person but when I do, I’m always worried I’m adding in too many sentences that begin with ‘I’ and ergo, not enough variety of sentence starters. I always thought it was boring to start sentences with the same thing, but here, it sounds rather decorated and pleasant.

    I’ll definitely keep this bookmarked for future reference, in case I want to be writing in the first-person. Normally, I write in third-person limited. Not that I have an enormous amount of confidence in that POV anyway: I feel I change the tenses around a lot and not add enough depth to either the setting or the characters.

    • ruthannereid

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Willow! POV is a challenge to write when you’re doing it intentionally, but it’s worth the effort.

  19. bkidd8

    I’m re-reading your post after a long trip to see my dad. Very informative. I caught myself using filters in May, and had a long haul removing them~ha! But the writing was stronger. I see these filters as ways of “telling” your reader what they are to notice. Removing them helps the reader experience it. Great post! Thanks for validating their removal.

    • ruthannereid

      Thanks! I’m soooo glad. This problem took me forever to figure out. I’m really glad my explanation resonated!

  20. Hannah K

    I woke gasping, and feeling cold. The dream clawed at me, trying to suck me back down into a dark well of despair. I couldn’t remember the dream, just that it felt like death and worse than death. I felt cold, which was ironic because I was covered in sweat and tangled in my sheets. The clock on the nightstand read 6:30, which was earlier than I really wanted to get up. But after that dream there was no going back to sleep, even if I couldn’t remember it.

    I snuck into the bathroom, trying to be quiet. The yellow linoleum was peeling back in places and needed to be replaced. I’m not sure which is more dismal the shower or the sink, the shower was small enough that a significantly overweight person would not have been able to fit inside, and I swear the sink was sized for a child. The Borden’s my current foster home, are not as bad as some of the people I’ve stayed with over the years. That however doesn’t mean that they are a nice couple. Cecelia Borden, is a nurse over at the local hospital. A meaner nurse, it would be hard to find. I think she resents all sick and injured people, for being so inconvenient. Jonathan Borden, is a retired boxer. Now he trained at the local boxing gym the Silver Gloves. He is not in much demand though, only the newbies or the broke hire him to train them, and only for a while. His training consists of a lot of yelling, and gesticulating. He is especially consistent and his demands for exercise and diet, which I think is laughable. Considering he hasn’t been able to get rid of his own beer gut, since he retired some 20 years ago.

    I stood in the shower as long as I could wanting to be sure I got all the hot water. There is no point in being kind and saving water, kindness isn’t reciprocated in the Borden’s house.
    I patted silently into the kitchen. I doubt the fridge will have anything to eat, (ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise don’t count) but checking was one of those things I couldn’t not do. Checking the fridge is a compulsion. When I was eight, I stayed with a foster family that didn’t feed me much. They withheld food for every offense real or imagined. I stayed with the Chester’s for five long months. At the end of those five months I have learned an awful lot, I learned how to find food, and homeless shelters and which dumpsters had the best food. How to shoplift at gas stations and all-night convenience stores.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      This is good Hannah! Very present, and very moving; I find myself really curious what’s going to happen to this character. I want to know what the dream was! You’ve successfully snagged my attention.

    • Pulkit Baheria

      This is really good.
      Would love to read the complete story:)

  21. Hannah K

    After writing that I wasn’t really satisfied, so I went back and rewrote the first paragraph.

    I woke gasping, and feeling cold. The dream clawed at me, trying to suck me back down into a dark well of despair. I couldn’t remember the dream, just that it felt like death and worse than death. My heart hammered in my chest, I needed to do something desperately. But something indefinable held me back. Icy fingers radiated through my body, the pain in my back was paralyzing. I held perfectly still, and focused on filling my lungs with air, one slow breath at a time. Gradually the cold and the pain faded away, allowing my mind to focus on other things. The clock on the nightstand read 6:30 trying to go back to sleep wasn’t even an option. “Sighing” I untangle myself from the sheets, grab some reasonably clean close, and went to the bathroom.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      Even tighter! Fantastic, Hannah! Maybe snip the quotation marks around “sighing” and simply have a comma. 🙂

      Sighing, I untangle myself from the sheets, etc.

  22. bonn

    thank you much!!!

    • Ruthanne Reid

      You’re so welcome, Bonn!

  23. Test


  24. Malini Misra

    Thank you for this Ruthanne Reid. I came across this great piece on Pov, while researching for ‘First person writing’. Its simply so informative, though i think i need a lot more readings of this, to get a complete hang of every point you have mentioned. I am new to story writing, and have an assignment on Surreal-writing, which is kind of sooo difficult. Its best to write this genre in First person. After writing a little I thought, this is sounding like a journal, let me research a little, and I found you. This has been so so informative. I am going to scrap everything I wrote and try and use everything that you have discussed in this piece. Thanks again.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      You’re more than welcome, Malini! I’m so glad this really helped you. 🙂 You can do this! I look forward to what you manage to create.

  25. Malini Misra

    She sat outside in the garden drying her silvery grey hair. I thought to myself, how will I look at her age. I already seem to have too many strands of white, and they are not as thick as hers too. What did she do to have such lovely hair? She asks for milk to wash her face everyday, but apart from that I don’t see other beauty routines. Its her food, but I cook her meals. Then what is it?

    Isn’t this wrong? How do I write this removing the I?

    • north1085

      She sat outside in the garden, drying her silvery grey hair. How will I look at her age? [How will I look at her age, I wonder?] I already have far too many strands of white, though they aren’t as thick as hers. How did she manage to attain such lovely hair? She washes her face with milk everyday, but aside from that, I don’t see any other beauty routines. Could it be in her food, then? [Could it be her food, then?] Ah, but I cook her meals. What on Earth could it be? [What could it be?] [What could it be, then?]

      I rewrote the paragraph to make it as natural as possible (and fixed some grammar mistakes). In the [ ] are some alternative lines you could use if you don’t like what I’ve done with it.

      Anyway, these lines are fine:

      “I already seem to have too many strands of white, and they are not as thick as hers too.”

      “Its her food, but I cook her meals.”

      However, there is one line you should consider re-writing:

      “I thought to myself, how will I look at her age.”

      I also want to redirect you to another helpful post that supplements this one somewhat:“thought”-verbs

      This article will also probably help you with re-writing the one problem line you have.

    • Malini Misra

      Thank you so much. This was so helpful and the link too was great. It’s extremely kind of you to spend time on my text and help out. Cheers.

    • north1085

      You’re welcome, though it’s mainly because my own writing isn’t really going anywhere. My writing seems to go a lot more smoothly when I’m working with other people’s plots, characters and whatnot for some reason.

    • Malini Misra

      Maybe helping and working on other work is your own way of improving. When you teach someone what you know you deepen your own work. Works like this in music too. So it’s good that you take interest in other people’s work too. You never know when you maybe inspired yourself with some great plots and characters. Reading is the first step really.. you are doing great. 🙂 share your work.

    • north1085

      Thank you, I’ll take those words to heart. I suppose I have a tendency to start hastily building a house without first constructing a proper foundation, meaning that it ends up falling apart all too quickly. I never really properly plan out what I’m going to write, so I’ll have to work on that.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      I love this thread! The original post and the succeeding edits are just fantastic. This is the writing community at its best. Thank you all for participating!

    • north1085

      Likewise, thank you for the praise.

  26. seeev

    The sun shone on my skin like wildfire, the intense heat felt like it was trying to cook me from the inside out. My body had the urge to run towards the nearest freezer and live there for a month. Knowing I had two choices, To suffer or drink some ice cold beer I’d rather choose the second one. My legs were still struggling to regain balance as I felt more weaker when I stood up.

    *Was it good?Or is there any errors present? Any feedback is accepted :)*

    • seeev

      *erase the “more”in the “more weaker”part sorry about that

    • something

      You are using the past 1st person pov though.
      The article was discussing and giving examples of 1st person in present tense.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      This is definitely a great step in the right direction! Here’s what I’d suggest:

      The sun shone on my skin like wildfire, and the intense heat felt like it was trying to cook me from the inside out. I fought the urge to run to nearest freezer and live there for a month. Knowing I had two choices—to suffer, or to drink some ice cold beer—I’d rather choose the second one. My legs struggled to regain balance as I stood, shaking with weakness.

      Something like that!

  27. Zaknaberrnon

    First of all, loved the article! It was super helpful! I am writing a story in first person, and rereading it an correcting it it felt like something was off but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. Your article made me realize exactly what the problem was!

    Now, I have a question regarding appropriate use of “I did X” in 3rd person past POV.
    I understand after reading your article that as you say, don’t describe the character looking at things, feeling things, etc; simply describe what those things are!

    For example;
    “I saw a big castle and I heard strange singing coming from inside” vs
    “There was a big castle ahead, and a strange singing was coming from inside”

    One question I have is, would it be okay to say something like “there was a big castle ahead, and I could hear the sound of strange singing coming from somewhere inside”, or is it better to just describe the sound?.

    But here’s my main question, What about describing what the character is doing? As in describing the character’s actions? How do you do that without “I did X”?
    for example;

    “I went over to the kitchen sink and began washing my hands. The thought of the singing from the castle kept coming back to me and I couldn’t help but wonder; what would have happened if I had gone inside?”

    another example:
    “I opened the fridge. Yeah, It was time for a refill. I took out the few things left inside and reached for a pot to start cooking the little food that was left. Turning on the burner, I reached over to grab some oil but the bottle was empty. I was going to have to get creative…”

    These are just off the top of my head, I tried to just think of situations when the character is doing things, especially a sequence of things, and you want to tell the reader what is happening. would those examples be okay? Are there better ways to describe actions or sequences of actions in the first person?

    thanks so much!

  28. Brad Willis

    I’m writing (or lumbering clumsily in my efforts) a fantasy epic… tell me if this sounds ok in describing a jungle: Strange a dwelling as the savanna was, the beasts stalking its tall grass paled to those in the jungle on its edge whose impenetrable brush and ground of uneven, marshy mush thinned numbers slowly through jagged far paths far too few. Lurking silently there, deadlier creatures thrived on the oppressive heat; wet and thick, the darkness and stench, and an infinite cacophony of hisses, chirps and clicks to betray every sense, funneling victims to death by more ways than one could list.

    • LilianGardner

      Hi Brad,
      You’ve got many descriptive words here, but they don’t make the jungle scene clear because of a lack of puntuation to separate sentences. I can’t understand
      ‘marshy mush thinned numbers slowly through jagged far paths far too few’.
      Thanks for sharing and best of luck for a re-write.

    • Brad Willis

      Thanks. I’ll get started. You’ve been helpful!

  29. Darra

    I’m trying to figure out how would you write that she is texting her best friend in first person without the filler? It just keeps looking wrong no matter how i spin it.

    • Krystal

      I believe, in that particular case, filter words would be completely acceptable. You really want to avoid filter words when it’s an outside stimulus–something your character isn’t controlling. But, when they are actually doing something, like texting, it can be tricky to avoid the filter words if not impossible.

      “I texted Susie the address to the party,” is perfectly acceptable. But you can drop the filter words once Susie replies. Something like, “My phone vibrated a moment later, alerting me to a new message. ‘Great, be there at eight.'” You don’t have to add that your POV character unlocked the phone or opened the message. Your reader will see it in their mind anyway once they read Susie’s reply.

  30. Bailey

    I begin spacing off when I hear snapping coming from Karlee’s direction, hesitantly I pause “What do you want Karlee?” I say in a slightly pissed tone rolling my eyes higher with each word. “I was thinking about Evan, you know how that goes,” I say biting my bottom lip slightly

  31. Bo

    I sat with my back against the trunk of a large tree, my head tilted back so I could look up at the moon. It was late autumn, and the branches above were bare, letting me see the dark sky with ease. The sight was breathtaking. The heavens looked like a painting; millions of twinkling stars were splattered across a midnight blue canvas, and the moon shone like a beacon calling me home. It’s easy to feel small, and insignificant, when gazing upon a sight so grand, and I let out a little content sigh. This was my favorite place to escape to, when life began to weigh too heavily on my shoulders. I could sit here, listening to the sounds of the woods, and feel completely at peace. I closed my eyes then, allowing the moment to sink in, and the stress of the day faded away.

  32. TheWanderingShe

    I am currently working on a book that alternates between different character’s first person view points. This article was just what I needed. I’ve never written in first person before and the know how to critique my work isn’t something I’ve learned yet, and I have been having trouble finding others with that skill. I post my rough draft online and if anyone here has some extra time to peruse a beginner’s work … well that would be amazing 😀

  33. Lee Karl Van Katwyk

    A great article which proved very useful, thank you.

  34. Darra

    Even though laci and I are identical twins, she’d always managed to pull off her own style. Watching her face I could see the similarities, but that’s where it ended. Where I am fire, she is Ice, where I am water, she is the solid earth beneath my feet, always grounding
    me. Feeling thankful that not only is she my sister, but she’s my best-friend
    and if Brighton wanted to be with me, he could never disrespect her again.
    Giving him one last huff. I shrug my school jacket off and head to the driver
    side of Baby, my silver grey Kia Soul. Like a lost puppy, Brighton walks to my
    side and blocks the door by leaning on it. “Move Bry, I don’t have time for
    this.” I say unwilling to play his
    little game today. Brighton started
    running his hands through his hair. “I didn’t mean it like that Khloe. She was
    just like super spaced out, she didn’t even care that The Schue was staring at
    her.” He blurts out. I was starting to think that the habit was a sign of
    discomfort. My finger rests on top on his lips. The universal sign for keep
    quiet. He didn’t know that he was about to cross the line. “I think that you
    have a problem apologizing. Maybe all that money and private care didn’t teach
    you how to say ‘I’m sorry, I was an idiot’. Now move out of my way.” I shove
    him and simultaneously press the alarm to open Baby’s doors. Grabbing me gently
    he says, “I’m sorry okay. I’m a jerk and I really didn’t mean it like that. She
    just appears to be so ready to ditch the whole island life and get it behind
    her.” Nodding slowly, I pull away. I was super protective of my sister; after
    moving here last year, we had a hard time fitting in. We were so different from
    the natives. Our long legs allowed us to easily tower over other girls our age,
    5’7” and we were still growing. Standing taller than most of the girls in our
    class, though our height isn’t what makes us stand out. Our eyes were
    everything that they couldn’t understand. Islanders were so superstitious, at
    one point an elderly woman crossed herself when she saw us. Laci approached the
    car with trepidation, it’s like she could feel the tension. “What’s going on Kahuna?
    You look like you’re ready to take flight?” She says her pet name for me with a
    giggle. Taking in her usual style of mismatched socks and unruly hair I laugh. “Oh
    Dory. Nothing. Couldn’t find matching socks this morning? I leave you to dress
    yourself one time and you still can’t do it right.” Teasing back, I turn to
    kiss Brighton goodbye lightly and whisper “This isn’t over Bry” before jumping
    into my car and driving away.

    • LilianGardner

      Thanks for sharing your story, Darra. Well told in First Person POV:
      It hooked me more and more as I read on, and I was sorry to reach the end.
      Will you finish the story?
      Happy writing!

  35. Shanil Samarakoon

    Useful. Thanks so much.

  36. Inah Pamela P. Blasabas

    A new city unfolded before my eyes as I got off the cab that dropped me in front of my apartment. In a couple distance you can hear the cars passing by from the corner of the street their horns blasting as if it can make a difference with the afternoon rush hour traffic. Children from other building apartments are yelling at each other gleefully running with their dirty bare feet on the filthy street. Women are at the corners of their apartment buildings their hairs in a bun with stray hairs coming out saying of what a day’s housework they have done. They all gathered with their own groups for some fresh gossip they heard earlier today. Men are walking from the bus stop. Exhaustion evident in their eyes after a long day of work from the construction site on the other side of the city. Stepping on the stoop stairs closed the deal of the life I chose. It was like putting all of what I left in a trunk. Locked for good with the key thrown to the depths of the ocean. Dragging my suitcase behind me I reached the top of the stoop. I took out the key and opened my apartment.

  37. Arcixus

    It was strange, reading a web article about writing out a first person narrative. Strange in that the more I read, the more my thoughts seemed to come alive with a voice of their own. I like it, said a jovial thought. Third person’s still better, another one countered. Personal wasn’t exactly the best way to put it, though maybe those aspects weren’t exactly as me as I thought them to be. Well, what works works right? A cool shrug of an instance occurred. Fair point, agreement echoed.

  38. Jeanette Pearce Holt

    Helpful advice. Thank you.

  39. Ruby

    The boxes move like there’s a tornado when in reality, the temperature’s really hot today. I get close to them and lean down, they move far away from me. This could only mean one thing, Jack’s playing a prank on me. But like the big lovely brother I am, I follow it. I follow the boxes until they make a stop and I look up to see my mischievous little brother laughing, victoriously at me. Ugh, brothers rivalry. I grabb him and start tickling his armpitts and stomach. He’s laugh and protests feels the empty silence that was in the room a minute ago. “Ahg, Alex stop!” My smile widened as I look up to see mom leaning on the white hall wall, smiling gracefully at me. She loves when I bring a smile to Jordan and make him forget his cancer thing for a moment. “Mom!” He yells. “You’ve should of seen Alex’s expression when he thought the boxes were actually moving.” How does he manages to talk so good when he’s been tickled?

  40. Kero Heart

    I have two questions! I’m used to writing third person past tense and not used to writing first person, past tense, but I’m starting and I’m learning as I go. My questions are: (1) Is it still okay to write the character’s thoughts in italics? Let’s say if they are in front of another character that they are having the thought about. (2) Like I said, I’m writing first person, past tense (and it’s really sounding like she’s telling the story and I’m happy with it, but…) I’m having problems with some sentences sounding better in present tense. Is it okay to write between past and present tense?

    • LilianGardner

      Hi Kero,
      I always put thought in italics to show it’s not dialogue.
      About your doubts of using past and present tense, I read my manuscript aloud, and by the sound of it, I’m able to correct to the right tense.
      Give it a try!

  41. Cheryl Hodgson

    Thanks, awesome instruction. I’m writing a business book and struggling with where I can share my own first person journey in what I’m writing about, that lead me to create and share a couple of ideas and a framework I’ve developed–to give it a bit of context as to why I created it

  42. Justine McGrath

    I just did a search from writing from 1st person POV, as I have been struggling with it and knew there was something very wrong with my writing. You have just answered my prayers. Thank you a million times over!

  43. Zahnweh

    Transient thoughts, ones with little hooks that pull great things with them, dragging a man down into the depths of recollection. In those dark waters, I’m left alone with my own misery, drowning silently beneath them all, unable to escape the overwhelming despair they bring.

    Trapped in this repetition, appearance suffers, condition deteriorates. All that seemed to matter now was the world that lived in my head. A world locked in the past. Never escaping a cruel cycle of regrets, and longing. Such a heavy weight, I collapsed against the couch in defeat, absolutely broken inside. Clutching my face, sobbing painfully, rocking softly in place.

    The only thought that my brain could produce was about my own imprisonment in a hell of my own creation. Inescapable, and unrelenting; I knew there is no way out of this nightmare I made for myself.

    Correction, there is a way out, but I’m too much of a coward to try it.

    That’s the rub of it. I need to take a chance, risk it all for a change in my situation. A change for the better, or for something worse? Sacrificing what I had, everything that I still have, just for the possibility of something else happening. That terrified me more, to simply throw it all away for what might be nothing at all.

    My mind struggled to compose itself, hoping that in some slight way, I could live again as a normal person. Tears flowed heavily from my eyes, running down my cheeks, my hands struggled to wipe them as they came out. The weight of their burden ached, burning my eyes, struggling to hide it all within the palms of my hands. It was all I could do. My miserable existence, unable to free myself from it all. A coward through and through.

    Most people can find themselves able to live for themselves, able to grow as adults, capable of enduring loneliness and living for the present. Finding love, finding friends, I just seemed to fail at it. I’m just a failure. A parasite that just lives long enough to be a burden on others, best to not have been born at all. My parents were all I had though.

    They loved me. Now, they’re gone.

    Everything just slipped through my fingers so easily. No friends, no family, just a pervasive sense of loss and a deep realization that it will never come back again. You can beg, you can plead, but such things never come back again. It is the only thing you learn by fighting against it all in vain. The futility of trying.

    I’m just surrounded with cruel reminders of the past. The warmth of their smiles, their comforting gazes staring down upon me with hollow eyes. Bitter reminders, I just wanted to forget about them, but that would be the most tragic thing of all. As much as I lamented in remembering them, but I knew that deep down, I would be more distraught by having nothing to remind myself of them at all.

    There is a deeper fear in knowing that you might forget the person you love, that time will erode the memory of their face, and you will never get it back again. That fear can become an urgent desire to find some way to always remember them. To somehow immortalize their vestige in your mind, making them permanent in your memories and in your heart.

    “You look terrible.”

    A voice shattered the silence I had embraced, taking me away from my memories to focus on its source. Everything was in its place, the darkness of the room making it difficult to discern living figures from shadow.

    In the corner was a shadow, tall enough that its head almost touched the ceiling. No features, nothing to give an assumption that it was some sort of demon. Then again, talking shadows tend to be easily presumed demonic in nature.

    “Let me help you.”

    It never moved from that spot, even as it spoke, the face didn’t move to give the impression of talking like a human. Naturally, I clutched my forehead, unable to come to terms with what I was hearing.

    “Great… I’m going crazy. I knew this was going to happen. Fuck, I don’t want to be in a mental hospital.”

    “You are not crazy. Please, just listen to me.”

    The shadow didn’t move, making my fear turn into anger, my fingers clenching themselves into a tight fist against my brow. Great, I had a voice that was trying to pretend it was something else. I scoffed towards it, unable to accept its words at all.

    “I am crazy. I’m fucking crazy, talking to an imaginary voice in my fucking head, so please don’t fucking pretend that I’m not fucking crazy. FUCK!”

    My words came through clenched teeth, maintaining my composure as much as I could despite my paranoid fear that I was indeed losing it. This was quite the problem, I never heard voices before. Not ones that talked back. So I had only one possible answer, my mental health was deteriorating rapidly. Very rapidly.

    Something was moving in the shadow, moving through it along the ground, slithering towards me. I pulled my feet up in a panic, letting out a yelp as I scrambled back against the couch. Alright, I’m definitely going crazy. This is certainly the sort of stuff a crazy person would see.

    “Let me in… I will protect you.”

    “Oh, fuck no. I’m crazy, I’m learning to accept that, but I’m not going to let any crazy tentacle shit happen to me! I’ve seen enough porn to know what is gonna happen next!”

    The tendrils crept up along the sides of the couch, my eyes violently moving around, trying to keep track of them all. Great, I knew that something would do me in, but not like this. I was so focused on them, I stopped looking at the shadow in the corner of the room.

    Something wrapped itself around me, I held my breath in fear, my eyes widening in horror. Two arms around my shoulders, it wasn’t painful or hard though. I felt my head rest on someone’s shoulder, the voice was near my right ear. Warm breath rushed over, I couldn’t speak.

    “Don’t be afraid. I’m here.”

    I lowered my arms, unable to think, speechless, letting out a whimper to acknowledge I was still listening. Blackness closed around us both, consuming everything, it terrified me so much. I struggled against whoever, or whatever was holding me, but it reassured me. Letting me build enough strength to ask the most pressing question on my mind.

    “Why are you doing this?”

    A short laugh escaped its lips, everything around us melted away into pitch darkness. Even the shadow began to slowly fade, its comforting hold slipping away. I wasn’t on the couch anymore. Frantically, I panicked, trying to hold onto whoever pulled me in here. I felt my legs suddenly slip, dangling down a massive sea of darkness. My arms couldn’t hold on anymore, I slipped through the shadow, crying out as I fell down. It gave its parting words to me, confusing me all the more.

    “It’s because, I love you.”

    ((It is crap, but I hope it is interesting. I’m trying to make a novel, and this is a bit of it.))

    • LilianGardner

      Your story is interesting and hooked me. I want to know what happens after you slipped through the shadow.
      Let me know when you post the next part.
      Happy writing.

    • LilianGardner

      Thank you, Zannweh.
      I’ve saved your story to read when i have free time this afternoon.

  44. Jo

    I too am writing in first person POV narrative which I prefer to do. However i find myself getting confused when there is poke narrative when my character is speaking to someone else. For example.

    “Of course, this way. The police are with him, they want to question him about the break in.” She explained, leading me down the corridor.
    I froze. “What? What break in?”

    Should it be ‘she explains’ and ‘i freeze’. I want to be consistent but it’s harder than i thought! Suggestions please?

    First time writer, Jo.

    • Laura Holderness

      It would depend if you’re writing in past tense or ‘right now’. From how I’m reading it, you’ve written in current tense and therefore it should be ‘she explains’ 🙂 hope this helped.

  45. Sanaruto

    Hello everyone I came across this website looking to find if people can write in different perspective with first person? I never can forget a book I read long ago that was written in first perspective but lets say the author wants to let you see someone else perspective within the novel they would wait until the next chapter and have like
    Sarah prove
    I walked into the room cold….etc
    and this would continue until the whole chapter and the next chapter it goes to
    Lain prove
    I could not believe sarah did not turn off the ac.
    Like that….
    I wonder if this can still be done, and if so can it also be done within the same chapter lets say something dramatic happens to the main character lets say they pass out or something can the author put
    Lain prove and continue from lain perspective after sarah blacks out
    for example
    sarah prove
    I was still very cold and I can feel my grasp on reality fade next thing I knew I was falling and all faded into black
    Lain prove
    All I saw was sarah falling and I ran to catch her before she could touch the cold cement

    Sorry this post was so long for the ones who read through it, thank you!
    Experienced Individuals share your knowledge with me 🙂

  46. Sanaruto

    Hello everyone I came across this website looking to find if people can write in different perspective with first person? I never can forget a book I read long ago that was written in first perspective but lets say the author wants to let you see someone else perspective within the novel they would wait until the next chapter and have like
    Sarah prove
    I walked into the room cold….etc
    and this would continue until the whole chapter and the next chapter it goes to
    Lain prove
    I could not believe sarah did not turn off the ac.
    Like that….
    I wonder if this can still be done, and if so can it also be done within the same chapter lets say something dramatic happens to the main character lets say they pass out or something can the author put
    Lain prove and continue from lain perspective after sarah blacks out
    for example
    sarah prove
    I was still very cold and I can feel my grasp on reality fade next thing I knew I was falling and all faded into black
    Lain prove
    All I saw was sarah falling and I ran to catch her before she could touch the cold cement
    Sorry this post was so long for the ones who read through it, thank you!
    Experienced Individuals share your knowledge with me 🙂

  47. Jimbo

    Mulga bill’s bicycle.

    At age sixty-seven I have some bits that have seen better days such as my right knee which is now sporting a new metal joint. Doctor said to me riding a bike and swimming are essential to recovery. What no parasailing? I looked at my old mountain bike and said to myself, ‘this will not do.’ I acquired a new Bzooma Amsterdam electric assisted bike.
    Looking at this new machine, I notice how traditional it looks. It is identical to two million others in the city of Amsterdam and Europe. It has full-size wheels, and a comfy seat so will make it a pleasure for me to ride. The display screen on the handlebar does not send me looking for the manual. (Blokes don’t need the manual) I see the power setting with a simple plus and minus button. A speedo and odometer needed no explanation, and the battery meter was evident to me. I think that is all Easy.
    Helmet on and off I go with my towel and togs on the backy to the pool for a swim, which is usually a trip done in the car. My street is flat, so I only needed power setting 1. I quickly moved to top gear and noticed how simple the Shimano Nexus hub gears are to select. I saw the hill approaching and hit the plus for more power with my thumb, and hear the motor putting in some more effort. I just cruised over the hill still in top gear. While my legs did get exercise, the energy applied was light.
    My neighbors’ old brown dog crossed in front of me, so I applied the brake, and the power cuts instantly. It also cuts when I stop pedaling anyway, but I was cautious.
    People said to me it looks strange a bloke riding a girls bike. I hastily pointed out that this is a unisex frame, not a girls bike. It is far easier to step through than to swing the new knee over the bike to get on. It has a sporty chain guard that protects a ladies dress, and I point out my trouser cuffs too. I was comforted when I saw another bloke riding a unisex frame bike, and I thought to myself, how practical. I don’t need a trendy Bzooma Raven mountain bike to look thirty years younger, besides I would need a hell of a face-lift to achieve that. I’m just happy with being me.
    I came to a shortcut through the playing fields which is not possible in a car. To get up the steep embankment I needed full power and first gear which was easy. I had never managed that on my mountain bike, despite having many more gears. I sailed up that bank quickly and arrived in the same time as it would take me to drive. I thought how stress-free it was to get the wind in my face, some exercise and arrive with no sweat. Amazing! It was nothing like Mulga Bill’s new bicycle.
    Now that I have a Bzooma Amsterdam; I wonder how did I get on without one.

  48. Charlotte

    I have a question, when I was younger I started my novel without knowing what all this meant, I want for years and now have a signifigant manuscript written in first person present tense.
    Needless to say, a lot more complicated.
    So lately i’ve been getting pretty lax with my writing and something didn’t feel right, THIS ARTICLE SAVED MY LIFE. I finally know what was wrong, but as I said writing it in present tense has been a little harder and now irreversible without a lot of work, so since i’m stuck with it, any tips for that specific combination? thanks

  49. Rain

    “Marili! Please, we have tried every doctor, every
    treatment, even speech doctors, everything! Our daughter is a disgrace; her
    speech is that of a babe. I don’t know what to do!”

    “Charles, there has to be something else. We just… need to
    find it! Just because the public does not like our child, that doesn’t mean we
    should just send her off somewhere else! I can’t take it!”

    “I… I’m sorry, it’s just…”

    The cold door on my back is my only support. My hands seem
    to fail me. A tear trickles down my cheek. My face grows hot with shame. Why? Why did I have to do this to myself all
    the time! Slowly, my feet bring me up from the ground. I fumble with my
    heavy skirts and grasp them in my hands. Without a thought, I run.

    Down the hallway, passed my room, the grand staircase, the
    guards at the door, and I didn’t stop. Sun gleams through my squinting eyes. Mushy
    grass squishes on my bare feet. Blurs of trees surround me. Wind tosses my wild
    hair into my face. Horses neigh in the distance. My breaths turn to gasps, my
    lungs searching for air. But, my feet keep on running. A rough surface scrapes
    my foot and kicks me off balance. I try to balance myself with my other foot.
    My hands search for something to grab a hold of. Skirts and hair fly in all
    directions. I manage to get my hands in front of my face as they reach the
    muddy earth below. I fall with anything but grace. Mud seeps through my fingers
    and toes. Half my face is nestled in the grass.

    “Miss, would you like a hand?” A boy’s voice chimes above
    me. My arms push at the ground, and lift my face up. Shifting my weight to my
    left hand, I wipe the mud from my eyes. And there, standing above me is a boy
    about my age, smiling at me. I’m a mess, and yet he isn’t mocking me. His hair
    is a blond mess of curls and his eyes, the color of fresh caramel. His hand is
    still reaching out, asking me to take it.

    Nodding, I grasp his hand. He pulls me up from the ground.

    “Th-thank… you.” I stutter, but manage to get it out in a

    Behind the boy is a tall man sitting on a beautiful mare,
    the color of copper. The man is holding another mare, smaller but, just as
    beautiful. I turn my eyes to the boy. He is wearing an elegant riding suit. A
    prince’s garb. The man on the horse must be his escort.

    “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to b-bother you. I ha-have to
    get back.” My face grows red, once again and I turn away. I start to run.

    “Wait! It wasn’t a bother. What’s your name?!” The boy, the
    prince, calls after me.

    I turn towards him, but quickly turn away. What’s the
    purpose, no one needs to know the name of a failure. Tears stream down my face,
    mixing with the dried mud. My face stings. I continue running.

    “Oliver! Let the girl be! We must get going!” A deep voice
    calls from behind me. His escort.

    Oliver… Oliver. Prince Oliver. I like that.

  50. Jude St Clair

    I am having trouble with the end of my first person story. A couple of people have told me it changes POV because she cannot physically ‘see’ Tim standing downstairs on the street from her bed. I tried to get around this by saying I wax blissfully unaware… but not sure if that works. Would appreciate any feedback 🙂

    Then Tim took his leave and I closed and locked the door behind him. All the while thinking
    how lucky it was that I had stumbled on those keys at the Café. With a spring in my step I
    locked up, kissed Brooklyn goodnight and tucked myself into my warm bed. As I gazed up to
    the ceiling, drifting off to dream of first dates, glasses of wine shared by an open fire, of
    snuggles and cuddles and movies together I was completely unaware of the eyes peering up
    through the darkness to my window. I did not see the smirk on his face as he twisted between
    his fingers the little container filled with putty that he had used to take a mould of my front
    door key. I was blissfully unaware of the ominous things to come…

  51. Excel Muhammed

    Nice dear

  52. Bea Lebrun

    I didn’t even know filter words existed! English is not my mother tongue and now that I’m trying to translate my works that ‘I’ has been a nightmare. Spanish and English had never been so different for me! Thank god I’ve just translated the introduction of my story and there’s still time to fix everything and start good.

  53. Susan Zoe Bella

    Thank you for this extremely helpful lesson! I’ve written my first, first-person and am now proofing. After reading this, I have a much better understanding!



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