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So, about first person narrations... (1 Viewer)

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Joker

Senior Member
Why am I supposed to believe the narrator remembers every conversation word for word?
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Ah, you're not. If the story is written well enough to get immersed in it, it's super easy to suspend that disbelief. What are you getting at? First person doesn't really work because it is somehow not believable? Come on...

P.S. -- I'm not even sure it has much to do with being well written. It's just a basic expectation of reading something written in first person. I've actually never come across anyone who questions it, so congratulations. :)

Now let's see how many people can write multiple paragraphs explaining what should be obvious. I can't wait!
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
It's...not supposed to be literal "account of what happened" (unless you're writing an epistolary story).

If someone wrote, "I swooped down from my branch and picked at the grass for a worm," in their story would you ask them why the bird chose to pass this information on to the reader or would you just accept that it's art?
 

TheManx

Senior Member
It's...not supposed to be literal "account of what happened" (unless you're writing an epistolary story).


I take detailed notes on every conversation I'm in, because you never know. Makes me think I should carry around a small recording device.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
As Fitzgerald recommended, the neophyte must sell their heart and all the personal ugliness. (And compared to him, I guess just about everyone is a neophyte.)
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Seriously though, Joker -- what's at the root of this? Are you thinking about writing something in first person and you're having doubts?

Come on, let's get to the bottom of this -- the writingforums.com community is here to help! :)
 

Joker

Senior Member
Seriously though, Joker -- what's at the root of this? Are you thinking about writing something in first person and you're having doubts?

Come on, let's get to the bottom of this -- the writingforums.com community is here to help! :)

I was going to write a story soon in first anyways. It was just a curiosity question.
 

TheManx

Senior Member
I was going to write a story soon in first anyways. It was just a curiosity question.

Cool -- then write it, and see what people think!

I'm a firm believer that a lot of discussion about writing without any context is a waste of time -- and you'll wind up answering many of your own questions. But that could just be me. :)
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
Why am I supposed to believe the narrator remembers every conversation word for word?

In my experience, the idea of a narrator doesn't work very well, and most analyses can be improved by avoiding the word. For example, I suspect readers have no trouble believing that a narration describes a conversation word for word.

There IS a problem in first person present when the character hears something different from what is said.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Why am I supposed to believe the narrator remembers every conversation word for word?

You're not! We all hear what we want to believe we heard. I doubt that many people can reitereate any conversation word for word. It reminds me of domestic arguments I have had. Him: "You said this." Me: "No I didn't."
 
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TheManx

Senior Member
Your not! We all hear what we want to believe we heard. I doubt that many people can reitereate any conversation word for word. It reminds me of domestic arguments I have had. Him: "You said this." Me: "No I didn't."

I just posted a story related to this -- about how couples fight -- how they deflect and deny and argue about small things when it's really about something much bigger...
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
I have a WIP in past-tense first-person. Something about the narrator remembers exactly every single word is an understandable concern.

Although let's just think about it, everyone of us have told a story to somebody else and we try our best to be as accurate as possible (unless someone has lying issues, I don't know). There might be a couple of things we forgotten, but that's the story from our perspective. If the other person do not/cannot/refuse to believe, then that's up to them. :D
 

ppsage

WF Veterans
Why am I supposed to believe the narrator remembers every conversation word for word?
As a reader you're not supposed to believe that. You're supposed to believe that the speaker is a well-versed enough storyteller, as many, many were in the not-really-that-distant past, to know where conversations need to occur in their narrative, and to be able to fill those spots with plausible, partly extemporaneous speech.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Might as well ask "as a reader, why am I supposed to believe that every line of dialogue isn't riddled with 'umm' or 'uhh' or 'like'?" It's fiction.
 
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