Writing Books/first-person


Hey Bobbie I had a quick question

I'm currently writing a book from the point of view of one character and he tells the entire story but is it alright to have some of the other characters deliever dialogue? For example when the character is recounting a story is it okay to take the reader to the actual locaton of the stroy then have the characters deliver their dialouge?

And what is "firs-person plural" I heard its really hard to use this method of narration.



Although you can have someone telling your main character what was said outside his presence, believe me, you don’t want to get into a whole lot of double and single quotation marks. Think of normal dialogue. When you tell a friend what someone else says, you usually paraphrase a large portion of it, rather than doing a whole lot of quoting. Here’s a natural piece of dialogue as an example:

“You want to know what happened? I’ll tell you. Sam told me to close the door, and I was ticked off, so I slammed it. He said, ‘What the hell did you do that for?’ and I told him I didn’t like being told what to do.

Below is an example of what you want to avoid, because it becomes unwieldy after a while:

“You want to know what happened? I’ll tell you. Sam told me, ‘Close the door,” and I was ticked off, so I slammed it. He said, ‘What the hell did you do that for?’ and I told him, ‘I don’t like being told what to do.’”

If your main character is the only point-of-view character, you cannot actually go to another location and show dialogue as it took place, you can only have someone who was there tell your main character what happened.

First person plural is looked down upon in narration; it uses the pronouns “we” and “us” instead of first person singular, which relies on pronouns such as “I” and “me.”  Of course in first person singular if something happens to a group that includes the narrator, an occasional use of “we” or “us” would be appropriate. See the following example.

The guard ushered Sam and me into a small room and told us to disrobe. We looked at each other in dismay, but obeyed.

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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