Writer, blogger, and long-time follower Belle B asked in response to my last post why I choose to always write in the first person, and if I don't sometimes find that restrictive. I'll take that in two parts:
1) Nevets, why do you always write in the first person?
For the longest time, I wrote for ensembles of characters and from a universal third person and treated first person as something to only be done occasionally. As I developed and began exploring writing, I began to write an intimate third person. That led to a few flirtations with first person, but I was usually not satisfied with the results. In college, I experimented some (heh). I did a lot of freewriting and experimental fiction. Much of the time I used first person for that.
Then I was educated by folks who explained to me that editors and agents hate the first person and I should only use it if it's the absolute only way to tell a story.
So I abandoned it.
My writing continued to grow and mature in some ways, but I always felt as if it was missing something organic and natural. What I finally realized is that my style really works best from a first person POV. Some of the things that characterize my style are...
1) It's usually voice-heavy.
2) I typically mix in elements of freewriting and stream-of-consciousness.
3) My focus is strongly internal.
4) Every story is intended to, ultimately, give the reader an encounter experience.
For me, those things and others were best met by the first person. Ryan David Jahn's Acts of Violence (USA: Good Neighbors) does a lot of the same kind of thing through an intimate third person, but I don't relate well enough to other people to pull that off. The only way I can relate to characters intimately is really to take a method approach, and translating that to a third person gives my writing a forced and unnatural feel.
2) Nevets, do you ever feel restricted or limited by the your use of the first person POV?
Yes, but not in a bad way. A lot like a mischievous kid, I like boundaries because they give me something to kick against and protest. The first person definitely does that. It forces me to act out in a disciplined way, which I think makes it better in the end.
Too, I like a challenge, because I'm a problem-solver by nature. When I converted Sublimation to first-person, I had to transform certain events and stories so that they were told by observation of their effect rather than direct observation. That had its frustrations, but it was also tremendous fun.
On the other hand, if I were using a a third person narrative I would also feel more limited. My first person lets me cheat my prose and get away with some helter skelter stuff that would not work very well in third. So the restrictions that I do feel are met by a lot of freedoms.
3) Nevets, can you summarize all that blathering into a take-away summary?
I use the first person because at this point in my writing it's entirely integral to my style. Without it, I could not express the things I want to in the same evocative way that I do in first. The first person POV comes with limitations, but those limitations provide interesting challenges that force me to write better, and are balanced by fantastic liberties.