Point of View and Editing

I originally wrote my first book in third person (“She went to the store”) but recently decided it would be better in first (“I went to the store”). So I converted the whole book, which was a ton of work and not nearly as easy as it sounds. It isn’t as simple as changing some pronouns. Certainly, that’s a large part of it, but it also requires looking at perspective. I wrote in third person limited, which means that I only wrote from the perspective of the narrator, the main character. The book only revealed what she could know, how she thought, and so on. But there’s another element even in third person, and that’s how the novel is written in terms of closeness to the narrator (how much the reader gets into their head). With close, in particular, you wouldn’t say something like, “She ran her hand through her blonde hair,” because it’s kind of weird for her to be thinking about the color of her hair. With more distance it would seem less weird. In my case, it was pretty close, which makes it quite similar to first person (and requires fewer changes). But there were still some things that needed changing.

I naturally had someone read through it after I made all the changes because I knew I would have missed some, and there were some funny mistakes that my reader caught. I thought I’d share them here for your amusement.

  • “…then I realized she’d have to pay for it all myself.”
  • “I chewed on her thumbnails…”
  • “I forced herself to nod.”
  • “I bit her lip…”
  • “Then she remembered what I’d been thinking about before and my stomach lurched.”
  • “I stopped and leaned on her knees …”
  • “…this was not helping me to clear her head at all.”
  • “I concentrated on her feet and looking at my surroundings.”
  • “I didn’t really know why I couldn’t get herself to start doing my homework.”
  • “…when I extricated herself…”

Anyway, I thought some of these were pretty funny. Maybe you did, too.

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