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First or Third? That's My Beatrix

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Old 01-21-2018, 07:06 AM
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Default First or Third? That's My Beatrix


I don't know which I like best for my children's book That's My Beatrix, first person or third. I think most people like third? Here is a sample:

First Person:

Chapter One
The Day I Tried to Sell the Baby

I am Beatrix Pipkin and I live in the state of Alabama in cotton farm country. It is 1910, the year Halley's Comet is supposed to come by the earth out there in space. Some say the world will end when the comet's tail hits us, but I don't think so, since Pop doesn't think so, and he probably knows. But if the world did end, at least I wouldn't have to haul water anymore.

My chores are all hard, but hardest of all is hauling water from the creek to the house for cooking and washing. I tote the bucket down the path and sit for a minute on a flat rock above the water to watch the water bugs flit across the surface of the quiet pool by the stream edge. Pretty pebbles shine through the clear water, and I bend over and pick one up to save. I plan to tie it up with a cord to make a necklace for my big sister, Pauline.

Pauline's chores are easy compared to mine because all she has to do is take care of our baby brother Curtis. My sister is beautiful and kind, and she was sick when she was a little baby like Curtis, and that's made her weak, even now when she is 12, almost 13. So Pauline can't do hard work, Mom says, not like I have to do. Even though she can't help me, Pauline is always, almost always, nice to me. It's Mom who can't stand me, it seems like to me. And Aunt Luelle. Ugh, Aunt Luelle. I guess she'll be coming over soon to help cook for the men coming home from the plowing.


Or third:

Chapter One
The Day Beatrix Tried to Sell the Baby

Beatrix Pipkin lived in the state of Alabama in cotton farm country. It was 1910, the year Halley's Comet was supposed to come by the earth out in space. Some people said the world would end when the comet's tail hit Earth, but Beatrix didn’t think so, since Pop didn’t think so, and he probably knew. “But if the world did end,” Beatrix said to herself, as she reached the creek, “at least I wouldn't have to haul water anymore.”

Her chores were hard, but this was the hardest, hauling water in a bucket from the creek to the house for cooking and washing. Beatrix sat on a flat rock and watched the water bugs flit across the surface of the quiet pool by the creek bank. Pretty pebbles shone through the clear water, and she bent over and picked one up. It was so colorful, she thought about tying it up with a cord to make a necklace for her big sister, Pauline.

Pauline's chores were easy compared to Beatrix’, because all Pauline had to do was take care of their baby brother Curtis. Beatrix tossed her pebble from one hand to the other. She thought about how Pauline was beautiful and kind, and how she had been sick when she was a little baby like Curtis, and that was what made her weak, even now at 13, almost 14. So, over and over Mom said Pauline couldn’t do hard work, and that meant Beatrix had to.

Beatrix let the pebble plop into the water. Truthfully, Beatrix knew, even though Pauline couldn’t help her with chores, her sister was always, almost always, nice to her. “It's Mom who can't stand me, it seems like to me,” Beatrix said aloud. “And Aunt Luelle.” Ugh, Aunt Luelle. Beatrix made a face; she knew her least favorite aunt would be coming over soon to help cook for the men coming home from the fields.

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Old 01-21-2018, 07:25 AM
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Both of them are quite declarative.

Is that a style you are going for?
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
Both of them are quite declarative.

Is that a style you are going for?

Now that I am thinking more on it you do say it is a children's book so perhaps simple declarations are the way to go.

Regarding the first or third question I read that third seems preferred. I favor first because it keeps me in the moment as I write.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:39 AM
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I like the first person better if it’s done right. It’s much harder to develop a voice for your narrator that’s consistent and compelling in first but I usually enjoy the intimacy.

I also like how when you’re in first person, the narrator can be unreliable or faulted in ways.

Although, I’ll bet my opinion is probably a minority viewpoint.


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Old 01-21-2018, 12:34 PM
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("...do I even need to state my opinion..." asked the goblin who loved the fact that the pov could be swapped with third, repeating "...when writing "first" one is ever the focal point, but with "third" anyone could be that focal point, someone could die and someone else could take over from there...")
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Old 01-22-2018, 09:36 PM
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I prefer the first person view because it feels more personal, but if you are trying to tell a story and need to be in different places with different people interacting, it's much harder. Guess it depends on the content.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:48 PM
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Thanks, all.
I am not sure whether I want this to be a younger type book, using third person, or a slightly older children's book, using first. I prefer the first, too, so maybe I should go with what I like and make it as best I can. This book was almost accepted by someone, but they told me to rewrite it, and my rewrite didn't please them.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:02 AM
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Can't wait to see how you pull off making a kids story about selling babies.

Nice name: Pauline.
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Old 01-31-2018, 09:19 AM
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Beesauce, it is pretty funny, and based on my Grandmother's stories of the past.
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