I is not a cop-out


Now I have to revise.


In general, I don’t do well with things that are hyped up. Like, god forbid I take part in a trend, right? So I refuse and resist beyond all reason (just ask Angie) and I deny myself the wonder of things like capri pants, ballet flats, and Harry Potter. FOOL! (And yes, Angie, you were right about all of the above.)

In short: me? Not so good with the fads. And in literature, writing in the first person seems to be a very, very big fad right now. It’s something I’ve always sort of thought of as a cop-out, like, shouldn’t you be able to tell a story without having to pretend that YOU are actually telling the story?

BUT. (Butt!) I’ve read a lot of great books written in first person (like anything by Paulo Coelho and Amy Tan) and I know that this stupid prejudice of mine is just that: a STUPID PREJUDICE.

Not only that, but I’ve been thinking. And let me tell you, me thinking only leads to bad things. (Often tears. My own, of course. I don’t make other people cry.) In this case, the bad thing I thought of is that I probably need to rewrite The Good Daughters. In first person.

(I bet if I’d asked Angie, she would have told me that from the start.)

Actually, I DID start The Good Daughters in first person, but that’s because I was originally only going to tell it from Madeline’s point of view. Then as I got into Grace’s story, I found her more and more interesting, more and more important, and I decided she needed to tell her story too. And then Ma swooped in and demanded her say too (as mothers are wont to do) and suddenly there I was with three, THREE, key viewpoints. NOW WHAT?

(Also, at that point I still thought first person was a cop-out. FOOOOL!)

Naturally I switched to third person.

And now, now that I’ve written all 300+ pages of the novel, now that I’ve spent years typing and thinking and procrastinating and then finally typing some more — NOW I’m pretty sure that the only way I can tell this very emotional, “domestic,” not-action-driven story is by letting each of these women tell her own story in her own voice.

Irony. Bite me.


  1. Stupid prejudice is right. Capri pants and ballet flats are COMFY. Which should overrule stupid prejudices any day of the week. Comfiness > faddishness. (And it lasts longer, too.)

  2. I’m no literary genius, or even clever person, but I liked the way Faulkner used the 1st person in As I Lay Dying.

    Good luck on your endeavor. (I’m sure you can make a great story any way you can imagine.)

  3. Ego has suddenly increased tenfold. That’s worth reading your short story. Haha, no seriously, I want to read it when you’re ready.

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