First Person - Is There A Way Around?

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khobar

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I'm not "testing" how well I know my story, it's my life and I'm outlining my experiences. Testing my story was not the basis of this thread, I came for some advice on working around a blocked first person voice.

I suggested the reason you're blocked is because there's something in your story you don't want to face. That's not meant as a knock in any way - it's a reality that many memoirists run into. Sooner or later you have to face it, and when you do it's going to be tough but worth it.

I get that you're asking me to pin it all down succinctly but that's not something I'm able to do right now, I can't give you the outline and details you're asking for

I don't need the outline or the details - I'm asking you what your story is about. Up to now you said it was about this and about this and about this - and then you give us the paragraphs (below) which you didn't even hint at before.

I'm simply not explaining myself well enough for you at this stage because it's still a WIP.

You are explaining yourself just fine.

No, the awards were for the best blogs in Ireland.

Ah, okay. I understand that now - thanks. The "album" threw me.

Despite this, I'm still just the scum of the earth. Oh yeah.

Ummm, what?

The role of work in my life as woman - Work presaged my birth, peppered my childhood, I got my first job and my first period on the same day, I left school at 14 to work, I worked any damn job I could find until I was 18 when my first child was conceived, and I found work again, work of a type I never dreamed I would achieve. I talk about being a writer and thinker all my life and yet in the official sense, am worthless because I never finished school and claimed support from the government because I was 'foolish' to get knocked up as a teenager and as a result my 'type' is considered a write-off. Despite what I have carved out in the professional field, I still can't support my children myself, and am broadening my wings from music writing to fully-immersed longform, first in memoir, next with fiction. Are you aware of what life is like in Ireland:

I do know a wee bit about Ireland. ;)

My mother is a broken, vicious wreck of a person who allowed the worst of life to wear her down, even though I saw her single-handedly lift us out of poverty through her will to leave the home and work when she too became an unmarried mother with no support. She left the home too much though and went too far. When the same happened to me, I began to feel I had no right to live and defective genes were sure to plague my own children too and I battled severe depression by trying to figure out the best thing I could do for all my family. I am the only sane adult of us all and it all falls to me to see them safe when they are drunk or manic and violent or psychotic, and I have my children's wellbeing to manage too, and no choice other than to choose to bear it all. What would a strong woman do? Kill the problem, chop out the root, kill my mother, myself and my children in order to finally end the vicious cycle? Or refuse to give in and find a way out despite the odds? I had to make tough decisions because life is hard work, and as a woman, there are aspects of this hard life that a man would not have faced. I clawed up some community college courses, and then actually managed to make good on them. I didn't just get a job. I didn't just get a career or a reputation. I got respect...and that is one single factor missing all my life and it was the key to discarding the desolation I felt about my role in the world. I know that my talents have been recognised, that anything else which I might achieve will be superfluous because I have reached a point in life where it's already enough. Enough is a wonderful, wonderful feeling after a long life of nothing. And wow, what came next? Proof for my children that nothing can ever hold us back as long as we find a way to keep believing in ourselves. I am A Strong Woman Who Does The Right Thing. My work is never, ever done. But I am now going to focus on writing books so that I can find an extra path towards the security of the future I now want to build, and this book is itself a piece of work that I hope will shape the future of my prospects in this country.

You wrote in "I" and it came across explosively. Well done.

Compare your "woman" stuff in your brass-tacks pitch to what you just wrote. It's a WTF kind of difference anyone could see. On that same note, I think your sex, drugs and rock'n'roll tableau take pales by comparison to the back story. After all, it's called "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" in a tidy package for a reason.

Lastly, you've started so keep going. Don't ever think of abandoning this.
 

Deafchamp

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Compare your "woman" stuff in your brass-tacks pitch to what you just wrote. It's a WTF kind of difference anyone could see. On that same note, I think your sex, drugs and rock'n'roll tableau take pales by comparison to the back story. After all, it's called "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" in a tidy package for a reason.

Lastly, you've started so keep going. Don't ever think of abandoning this.

Thanks for the nod of approval, together with Ruth appreciating the work outline previously, I realise that the pitch I write will have to be less fancy word faffing and more hard facts.

Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll are to me the material manifestations of my mother's problems. She had the magazine I went on to write for sent over from Ireland every few months and had rocker friends long before I did, even dating Adam Clayton of U2 three weeks before she met my father, and I've met people who think my mum is cool cos she partied hard into her 50s. It's the most selfish and mundane way of life I can imagine. It's also the lame side of the music industry I work in, where a band has a 50% higher chance of a front cover if the lead is a sexy woman or a junkie. There's a deeper basis below that which looks at the death of people I've known from drug abuse compared to the idol status afforded on celebrities. And my own take on being surrounded by sex, drugs and music and how I used my Mum's mistakes to allow myself to have some fun the way every young person should.

All the advice and encouragement has been a huge help, even in ways I didn't expect. I'd love to be able to knuckle down now and finish in a couple of months, and with the tightening effect of the last few days it certainly seems possible. I keep saying how complex this is, I hope it doesn't disappoint by the time I get to share it!

Thanks again :)
 

khobar

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All the advice and encouragement has been a huge help, even in ways I didn't expect. I'd love to be able to knuckle down now and finish in a couple of months, and with the tightening effect of the last few days it certainly seems possible. I keep saying how complex this is, I hope it doesn't disappoint by the time I get to share it!

Your story sounds fascinating, and it likely is complex, but it's also overwhelming at the moment.

Don't be worried about disappointing anyone, especially at this stage. Write and rewrite and rewrite again, sift it and distill it until you feel it's what you want to say. Have people read it and give you more advice. Be objective with it.

Most of all - keep writing!

In the end you'll kick arse and take names. Good luck!
 

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If you are trying to avoid excessive "I"s...get rid of them. Force yourself to use "I" only when it's necessary.

YOUR WROTE:
I know that my talents have been recognized, that anything else which I might achieve will be superfluous because I have reached a point in life where it's already enough.
COULD BE REWRITTEN AS:
My talents have been recognized, that's enough for me, any further achievements will be superfluous.
You don't need to tell us that you know what you know ("I know that my..."). If you want to get rid of "I"s you need to express your thoughts and feelings as factual statements, rather than a stream of consciousness or inner monologue.

You're not writing a diary; you're writing a book that is meant to be read by others. You need to think about your writing in more professional and technical terms.

Basically you need to be more detached and dispassionate in order to more effectively express your thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, it'll just sound like whiny, personal therapy. (I say this speaking from experience.)
 

Fictionalizer

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I think your problem is that you haven't come to terms with what the memoir is *really* about - that is why you hate writing it. Putting it in third person isn't going to help because you know that doesn't really get you around the issues.

It's tough to peel off the scabs and open up old wounds, but if you really want to get to the heart of things, that's what you're going to have to do.

HTH and good luck.

Ah, yes, and that is why I struggle with writing my memoir too. Using "I" makes me have to look into the depths of my pain and what I remember my father doing to me and others. There is no escape, good in one way and painful in another.
 

khobar

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Ah, yes, and that is why I struggle with writing my memoir too. Using "I" makes me have to look into the depths of my pain and what I remember my father doing to me and others. There is no escape, good in one way and painful in another.

Yes - there is no way to sugarcoat what we're afraid to face. I actually like what Winston Churchill said - "If you're going through hell - KEEP GOING!" That applies to writing, especially writing about painful subjects. Once you commit to writing it out, keep going. Don't let it fester. Don't give it a chance to overpower you, to smother you, to rip you apart.

And be prepared to go back and do it again, several times.

For strength I would highly recommend James A. Owen. He writes YA, but he also put together a couple of inspirational books that have helped some people overcome feeling overwhelmed.

http://coppervaleinternational.com/marketplace/the-meditations/

Pop him a note - he's a very cool guy.
 

Chase

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No advice here, Deafchamp, just encouragement. My older sister was born deaf, and I’ve been totally deaf eleven years after decades of progressively deteriorating hearing.

Interview a thousand deaf and profoundly hard-of-hearing (HOH), and you’ll have 1000 unique stories. Tinnitus, wonky balance, and CODAs (children of deaf adults) are scattered tips of the same iceberg. For what it's worth, my sister lives in San Francisco, California, and has introduced me to several deaf and HOH musicians there.

I’ve just completed a mystery novel featuring a deaf amateur detective. While it makes the rounds of rejections, I’m working on the sequel. I’m still up in the air on whether to work in first- or third-person or change with POVs.

In the second novel, my deaf protagonist takes on the invisible, omnipresent antagonists in the form of subconscious and unwitting surdophobics, people unable to deal with the deaf.

All my best wishes for your biography.
 

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