Those are nice screens!
Your first question: If you mean a written prologue that provides her background, the answer is no. Parcel it out as her story provides natural opportunities to reveal it. Your first episode is fine as long as it gives a sex and possibly a race. Adding a name if it fits into the first episode is fine. Then begin showing us who she is by her actions and dialogue.
Your second question: First person vs third person.
I prefer first person for the following reasons:
- Intimacy. My character is full of rumination and emotion; there is nothing more intimate than being inside her head in her own words, using ‘I’. First person is wonderful for character-driven fiction. It is not as useful for plot-driven fiction.
- Story vagueness. By definition, the reader can only know what the character does. That provides loads of mystery because there is so much she won’t see. Sounds odd, but I find the ‘fog of ignorance’ to be a plot blessing rather than a curse.
Are there challenges with first person? Yup.
-You can’t tell the reader that the character is kind or grumpy or a jerk or even pretty. It has to be revealed via their actions and dialogue with others. Again though, I consider this an advantage.
- Also, you must write in a style that is consistent with the character’s own words. The story of a poorly educated twelve year old in first person might say, “The grass looked real purty.” If using third person, you are free to elegantly describe golden grasses swaying in a gentle Abecean breeze. The answer for me was to write like my character would, but gradually educate her in the story. Indeed, after a full University education and being knighted into minor nobility, she has learned to write in a more sophisticated manner.
-It is much more awkward to shift perspectives to another if your basic story is in first person. In third person, it is not too much of a stretch to occasionally provide an episode from the perspective of another character as long as it is a clear, clean break. With first person, the effort is to make it seem like an intimate diary, so popping in an episode from another perspective is rather awkward in my opinion.
Regarding third person, I don’t honestly feel qualified since I have so rarely used it. If trying to learn third person however, I would go straight to our own SubRosa for advice.
Good luck and I look forward to seeing Myrin in print. This post has been edited by Acadian: Nov 5 2011, 02:27 AM