Blogging Fatigue

I’ve blogged continuously for days, more than days. By the end of September (which is Monday) I will have been blogging for two months non-stop. I don’t mind blogging continuously, but when I don’t have a specific blog theme, it makes it harder and harder to come up with ideas.

Anyone who has been following my writing dreams will know that ideas are something I’ve struggled with a lot. That hasn’t really changed. I’ve had an idea here and there, just nothing that can withstand another month full of blog posts.

So next month (that’s Tuesday) I will slacken off the blogging until I’m blogging maybe once a week. Perhaps twice, if I can find something else to blog about.

It also means that I will have to pull my finger out and start writing something other than blog posts in order to fulfil my 750 word a day requirement, as dictated to me by the 750words.com website. Of course, that’s just a minimum and it’s a motivational goal rather than a dictatorship.

I’m actually quite looking forward to only blogging a couple of times a week. It was suggested to me by my friend tromana that I blog about projects I have undertaken. Namely, baking projects. I really like the idea. I started a project recently but it’s sort of failed and I figure it’s best not to start again until after my trip to London (this weekend) as it requires daily activity in order to make it work. Anyway, I will have to restart that again when I get back from London so that I can create a blog post about it in a couple of weeks when it’s finally finished.

I will hopefully spend some time in London figuring out some projects I can work on in order to share them with you. Suggestions are most welcome!

(Another reason I can’t blog about baking projects every day is that my parents probably wouldn’t be too happy if I was feeding them cookies, cake and breads every single day. We’ve been trying to diet, after all. Even the healthier baking projects are still a little unhealthy.)

Thankfully the final few days of blogging have already been set (aside from one day but I’m sure I’ll find something to write about) as my trip to London will provide me with some interesting experience. I cannot wait to share with you some of the things I’m going to be getting up to. Hopefully there will be many more things besides. I have three and a half days, after all, with only one day full and another day only partially full.

Until tomorrow, bloggers/readers. You may be hearing from me from the coach, since it should have internet and a plug socket and I’ve got four and a half hours to fill.

Technology has changed the world.

Technology has changed the world.

It’s become almost unthinkable that there are some people on Earth who do not use computers and mobile phones. It’s even more unthinkable to know that some of those people live in developed countries where access to such things is actually really easy.

I’m lucky enough to still remember an age where mobile phones and the internet wasn’t a requirement. There are a lot of people out there, actually, who will. But we’re reaching a point in the world where our teenagers have grown up using such technologies.

When I was a child I ran about the streets with my friends, playing games where you bounce a ball off the opposite kerb on your street (are kids even allowed outside anymore?), building dens on land round my schools (I task you to find a school that isn’t surrounded by large metal fences) and having sleepovers where you watch a scary film on a VHS (hello! We’re even past DVDs, Lovefilm Instant anyone?).

It feels like a lifetime ago that I lived a life where I called my friends up on the house phone. I remember when someone who I didn’t really consider a friend, but we hung around together sometimes, was messing about on a very steep hill and I went home and called her mum. I wonder how many children and teenagers these days have very little, if any, contact with their friend’s parents.

I did my work experience in a nursery school when I was fifteen years old, the three year olds had access to a computer where they were beginning to learn how to use them. A decade later and those tots are now teenagers, most of which will probably have a mobile phone, many will have computers or iPads and some will access the internet without their parents ever knowing what they’re doing.

I didn’t get my first mobile phone until well into secondary school. I got a Trium Mars one Christmas and it was such a wonderful day. I’d wanted it for a long time, it was a bit different, not the same kind of phone all of my friends were getting (Nokia 3210/3310) and it was worth the wait. I suppose I was one of the curious teens, I purposefully got a phone which had access to WAP. I’d walk around the streets near to where I lived doing my paper round and looking up jokes on a very slow version of mobile internet. I loved every minute of it. It was new and no one was really doing it.

It’s not new anymore. I don’t have the latest phone, or the best operating system on my phone. I have a Nokia Lumia, it’s just over a year old and I can’t even upgrade to the latest OS, and it could be better. I don’t mind so much because I can’t really afford to buy anything better. Besides, I like to get new phones so in theory it’d be better to keep buying cheaper phones every year or two than to buy one expensive one and feel like I’m stuck with it for years.

When I browse Facebook, I see people I went to school with buying their children mobile phones and iPads. Seven year old children being given expensive pieces of technology. And they know how to work them, too. So many children know how to use apps on phones. The amount of times I’ve seen babies holding a phone, their parents thrusting it into their sticky, chubby fingers to keep them from fussing whilst they’re too busy chatting with their friends to talk to their child. It’s not necessarily like that for everyone, but there are an awful lot of children who seem to be pacified by technology.

Aside from all of the dangers that there are supposed to be around mobile technology, these children’s lives are changing. They’re not growing up in the same way we did.

I consider myself to be part of the modern world, the technological world. I am one of the first generations to grow up on technology. But I haven’t truly grown up on technology because I can remember before. I can remember going to college and my Sociology teacher said he wasn’t really bothered about getting a mobile phone. He eventually got one after his car broke down and he found himself unable to call for help. But to actively make that sort of decision now is a lot different to ten years ago.

If you don’t have a mobile phone these days then you can be so far out of the loop. People can’t phone you when you’re out of the house. Some people don’t even have a landline. And as for computers and the internet, if you don’t have access then you will struggle with a lot of things.

Applications for jobs are often done online, too. Job searches are all available on the internet. Finding out about council services can be done on their website. Looking for a fast food restaurant, for an address, for a telephone number; it’s all done online. If you don’t have access to the internet, you just can’t be part of many aspects of society.

I wonder whether people are happy to be on the outside; to not know the phone number for a local plumber because they’ve not had a Yellow Pages delivered in years; to be unable to find that DVD, that CD, that gift that someone they know is after because they don’t have access to online shopping.

I wonder whether those people feel like they’re missing out, or whether, as an internet and mobile phone user I just can’t understand how they might not be.

Missing the Dream

Domino’s pizza hand out free condoms.

For the last two days I’ve been volunteering at a fresher’s fair. For anyone outside of the UK who might not know what that is, it’s an event where companies and non-profit organisations promote their services/opportunities to students at university. Fresher’s week is a very popular period for many people as it’s an opportunity for students to meet new people, drink a lot of alcohol and pick up freebies (I didn’t buy a pen throughout my university years because of the free pens I got at the fresher’s fair). It’s known for being a big party week and safe drinking and safe sex are often the topic of conversation for those outside of the student activities (and maybe for some inside, too).

Today I was given a free condom as part of a goody bag from Dominos. It made me laugh. Since when did the pizza guys start making/handing out condoms?

I digress.

I was at the fresher’s fair because I was helping out on one of the stalls. Talking to students about the work that the organisation I volunteer with does and how they might be able to get involved themselves. It was a successful event; we handed out many, many leaflets and spoke to a lot of people. We even took down a few names and contact details for some people who were really interested in volunteering.

My background is in the voluntary sector. I started volunteering when I was sixteen and have since clocked up thousands of hours donating my time to a number of different charities. Whenever any charity collectors stop me on the street, I don’t give them money, because I feel like I do enough for good causes. It’s part of me and it gives me something so important; it’s given me a purpose, it’s given me friendships and it’s give me confidence.

When I went to university I didn’t do a standard course (e.g. psychology, history, English, they’re all quite popular), because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The only reason I went to university at all is because I wanted to do a very specific course which fitted around the idea of charity work. I learnt about project management, funding, youth led regeneration and many more subjects besides. It gave me a thirst to do more, it gave me confidence to go out there and be someone others could look up to.

The year I finished my degree course was the same year that the financial crisis had begun to kick in (it started in the UK in 2008 and I graduated in 2009). The first thing to go in financial crises are funds, whether they’re funds for activities run by the council or funds councils allocate to voluntary groups in the area, or funds for jobs full stop. Money had to be cut and everywhere you looked, people were chopping up budgets and starting again. They went and they went hard and fast. A lot of money that is usually up for grabs was funnelled into the Olympic Games and voluntary organisations that worked around sport related activities. The funding for everything else vanished, or at least severely diminished. Over a few years a lot of charities closed their doors for good. Some after being around for a decade, two decades, maybe even more. A handful merged together, solidifying their futures. For the smaller charities, it was the nail in the coffin in an otherwise difficult funding climate.

So here I am, years later, wondering where I am going with my life. I sit around, I volunteer, I look at job adverts and I wonder what I want to do with the rest of my days. The more time goes on, the more I wonder if working in the voluntary sector is for me. The longer I wait for the perfect jobs, the further away I get from an old dream and the closer I get to taking anything that will come my way because there’s just nothing else available.

The fresher’s fair reminded me of something. It reminded me of my dreams; it reminded me of the things that I would happily do for a living, the tasks I would willingly take on, work hard at and do a darn sight better job than some of the paid workers I saw over the last two days. I don’t take work lightly, whether it’s paid or voluntary, I give it my all regardless.

Despite my dreams still sitting there, on the periphery of my life, I know that the chance of getting a job that fits those dreams is hard. It’s harder than hard. It’s actually pretty darn near impossible. There aren’t enough jobs in all professions, lets alone the professions that some government people consider to be unpaid positions. I wonder if I should dig my heels into my volunteering and take on more activities. But people worry that I’ll burn out; they worry that we shouldn’t do too much in case it is too much. Except that I don’t work, I don’t do anything but sit at my computer, eat, sleep, eat some more and read my books. I don’t live in the way some people do. I don’t go to clubs or pubs, I don’t socialise and I don’t meet people. My recent volunteering has given me a lease of life; it has given me somewhere new to spread my wings. And I so desperately want to spread my wings and fly. I want to do more, I want to do things I’ve never done before, and I don’t think it’ll burn me out. I think it’ll give me more passion, it’ll push me further into a place I want to be and it’ll make me wish that I could have it all in a paid environment.

Dreaming is hard sometimes, it’s fierce and fickle and more often than not the world doesn’t always help you along the way. Obstacles crop up, obstacles that quite frankly are near impossible to overcome and there’s very little we can do about them.

But hey, at least I had a good couple of days.

Beyond The Books

The greatest thing about fictional worlds is their capacity to stretch out beyond a set of books. Minor characters, barely seen locations and briefly mentioned events can provide a whole new opportunity for ideas. It is even more possible, and perhaps even more important, when a world is so far removed from our own. For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to be focusing on the Wizard World of Harry Potter fame. It is a magical and sometimes mysterious place filled with many, many things that we only know a fraction of information about. We may know Harry Potter and his years at Hogwarts very well, but there are parts of his world which would – and have – made fantastic opportunities for further reading. Quidditch Through The Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard are two of such opportunities, books that provide more information into different aspects of the Wizarding World. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is not only another book, but it’s also on the cusp of being turned into at least one film. This book/film allow us – the Muggles enjoying Harry Potter – to experience the world through different eyes and different aspects of said world that we might never have been exposed to.

As I’ve been working through a re-read of the first three Harry Potter books, I have found myself considering the possibilities within the Wizarding World to explore further some of the characters and locations.

I have decided to pick out a handful of locations I would love to learn more about through either novel, short story or film. The chances of them actually happening may be slim, but a Muggle can dream.

Gringotts
The Wizarding Bank created by a goblin named Gringott and operated by other goblins. It is a weird and wonderful location that we have been lucky enough to see in various guises in the Harry Potter books and films. The idea that a bank can be created under the streets of London, with vaults dedicated to each individual or family, guarded by spells, enchantments and, as rumour has it, various other magical creatures. It’s something to be revered and it’s something which I think would benefit from its own set of stories. We know very little about the goblins who work at the bank, whether there are any cheerful goblins, or even what most of them are called. It would be interesting to experience Gringotts through the eyes of a young goblin who has started working at the bank. Alternatively, there is also the potential for Bill Weasley to be the focus of a story and experience Gringotts and his work for the bank over in Egypt.

Hogsmeade
Where better to begin a brand new story than in the only all wizarding village in the country? It would be a great place to learn more about the history of the Shrieking Shack, or Madam Rosmerta’s life running the Three Broomsticks. What a fantastic opportunity it would be to meet many new characters, some of the regulars at the pub, or really get to know the owners of Honeydukes and Zonko’s joke shop. There are also many, many shops and homes which we haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, or learning anything about. I wonder what it would be like for a small child growing up on the outskirts of Hogwarts, learning more than he or she should know from the older children as they make their visits to the village.

The Ministry of Magic
There is much we know about The Ministry, and much we don’t know. The number of departments which are designed to look after the Wizarding World and the different people who must be involved in the place. What we have learnt about The Ministry has been fascinating, sometimes terrifying, but to learn more would – and could – be very important in further understanding the Wizarding World as a whole. Whether we followed a character we’ve met but know little about, or a brand new character, the opportunities are endless.

Other countries
The idea of exploring the Wizarding World in other countries is quite broad, but I think it would be completely fascinating. We have had glimpses at what is out there – other schools involved in the Triwizard Tournament, dragons in Romania, Gringotts workers in Egypt. We know from Quidditch Through the Ages that those wizards in Eastern countries opted to use a flying carpet instead of a broomstick, whilst the Wizarding World in the UK has outlawed the breeding of dragons. These small differences can really bring something new to an experience. Perhaps we could follow one of the lesser known characters from Hogwarts as he or she travels the world. Or maybe one of the older characters doing so in their youth.

Godric’s Hollow
A village probably quite unlike Hogsmeade, whilst it has been home to many wizarding families over the years, the fact that it is shared with Muggles is what makes this village so interesting. We’ve seen how Harry Potter manages to live alongside his Muggle relatives, we’ve heard glimpses of Hermione’s Muggle upbringing, we’ve even witnessed Harry and Hermione at Godric’s Hollow on their quest for Horcruxes. But when have we really had the chance to see exactly how Muggles and Wizards live side by side in the same village? The opportunities for discovery from unsuspecting Muggle friends, the idea of Muggle friends at all. There is the potential to continue on Harry Potter’s life – though that would depend on whether he’d want to return to the location of his parents’ deaths, or I’m sure there are many other wizarding families who would be fantastic protagonists for a new set of stories.

There are many different possibilities within each location, many more locations besides and the opportunity to explore the worlds of new and existing characters. In a world as vast as Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, the potential situations are endless. With the recent news of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them being made into a film it brings about the question as to whether anything else would be possible. It’s certainly not impossible. If it was, then JK Rowling wouldn’t be the one in control of the writing of the Fantastic Beasts films. She’s always shown an interest in going back to Harry’s world (no matter how small), whether that’s through his eyes or someone else’s, we don’t know. Nor does it really matter. What matters is that the world is so big that she could write a book a year for the rest of her life and still have many, many more stories to tell. It really is a truly remarkable world that she has mapped out. If only we could really wander through the streets of Hogsmeade, or visit the Museum of Quidditch in London.

10 Random Factoids

For a bit of fun, I thought I would share with you some random facts and explanations I’ve found from searching across this, here, interweb.

1. Apples are more effective than caffeine at keeping a person awake.
It’s true! A lot of people may ask how an apple can be as good as caffeine. But it’s not about the actual food. The effort of biting into the apple and chewing on it is enough to make you feel awake.

2. Belgians have tried to deliver mail by cats. It didn’t work.
It was the year 1879 in a place called Liège that Belgians decided to train up 37 cats to deliver letters. Anyone who knows cats will know that training cats to do most things is near impossible and even if you can, they won’t always do it on command the way you can train dogs. So naturally it failed, the cats were too disobedient.

Other animals that have been used over the years are camels (in the Australian outback), dogs (pulling sleds in Alaska and Canada) and pigeons. The latter is probably the closest we’re going to get to pretending we’re in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

3. A female dude is actually called a dudine.
For a long time I (and many others) have considered the word dudette to be a suitable female alternative to dude, and naturally, we are wrong. The word dude originates in America with early definitions of ‘a man excessively concerned with his clothes, grooming and manners’. Over the years the definition has been adjusted and has a few different meanings. Female variants of the word are dudine and dudess, though dudette has become an acceptable version as it’s been used so much.

4. There are more mobile (cell) phones than people in the USA.

So says the Washington Post, and it’s hard to disbelieve them. Mobile (or cellular) phones are popular and with the introduction of smart phones some years ago, carrying a wireless device is becoming increasingly popular. So much so, that in 2011 the number of mobile devices reached 327.6 million, overlapping the 315 million population of the US (and territories). I suppose even when some people don’t own a phone, there are others who have two or three for work purposes. It’s a crazy world we live in, but it’s also an ever connected world. It wouldn’t surprise me if this number has increased since 2011, or if other countries are in similar states.

5. There are more sheep than humans in New Zealand
Following on from the phones in the US, this is one of my favourite random facts. The number of sheep in New Zealand is more than the number of people. In all fairness, it’s quite a small country when you look at the population. In 2011 there are over 4 million New Zealanders, and over 30 million sheep. That is quite a difference in population. In fact, to put it into further context, Australia has not many more than 22 million. If you added up the population of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you still have to triple it to be anywhere near New Zealand’s sheep population. That’s an awful lot of sheep.

6. Louis XIV owned 413 beds.
For some reason, Louis really loved staying in bed (something which I’m sure many people would agree with). He even supposedly held Royal Court in his bedroom. I’m not sure beds of his era were even that comfortable, at least not in comparison with today’s fancy mattresses. All the same, if Louis spent every night in a different bed he would have one year, one month (of 30 days), two weeks and four days in different beds before he would have to use the same bed twice. I’m not sure about you, but I’m awfully fond of my own bed and would rather not have to change beds too often.

7. When Shakespeare moved to his new home he called it New Place.
Some people opt for names like Dove Cottage, The Granary or The Nook. In fact, naming your house goes back a long way to the days of manor houses and castles. It wasn’t until 1765 that the numbering of houses was introduced, probably for the best considering the number of houses we have. Nowadays people choose names for their homes to improve on their character or for the fun of being able to call a house by its name. When Shakespeare moved to his new home he gave it the very simple name of New Place. Well, it does what it says on the tin. I wonder what happened after a decade living there, do you think he renamed it Old Place?

8. There is such thing as an exclamation comma and a question comma.

This is news to me! Apparently, just because you’re excited about something, doesn’t mean you need to end a sentence. It makes sense. Sometimes a word needs an exclamation and yet, it doesn’t need to be the final word in a sentence (I’m forever asking questions that end mid-sentence and never knew what to do with the,). Insert the exclamation comma. Perfect. Except, how does one create one on a computer keyboard? (I did attempt to find one in the symbols section of Microsoft Word but was unable to, perhaps a sign that, whilst useful, the exclamation and question commas are in the same place as Shakespeare – no longer living.)

9. Refrigerated rubber bands last longer.
I wish I had more to say on the matter, but the fact is, I don’t. It is what it is. Try it and see. Freezing them also works, apparently. Don’t quote me on that though, I haven’t actually tried to do so.

10. Someone living in New York could eat out every night of their lives and never eat at the same place twice.
I haven’t checked this fact as I can’t find an exact figure on the number of places to eat. But what I have found is big enough. On Trip Advisor alone there are 10,600 establishments listed that serve food. That’s enough to last a person for almost 30 years. USA Today’s travel tips suggest that Manhattan has a whopping 3500+ restaurants, from top class posh nosh to the cheap and nasty; whilst Brooklyn has around 800. I’m not sure who is the most accurate, but whatever number there is, it would take you a few years to get around them all – whether that’s every day from your child’s birth to the day they start middle school or from your birth to the day you die.

Further reading:

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Mail-delivery-by-animal

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20010621

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-tech/post/number-of-cell-phones-exceeds-us-population-ctia-trade-group/2011/10/11/gIQARNcEcL_blog.html

http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/mythbusters/3million-people-60million-sheep.aspx

http://www.saveatmd.com/mattress-trivia.aspx

http://www.shmoop.com/william-shakespeare/timeline.html

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/housenames.htm

http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/13-punctuation-marks-that-you-never-knew-existed

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/many-restaurants-there-new-york-city-20663.html

*NB: I cannot guarantee the reliability of all of these facts or the information I have found across the internet. I’ve only done my best to find facts which appear to be somewhat trustworthy.

Sewing project: purse

For some time I’ve been carrying my money around in a small knitted pouch with a button to hold it closed. It’s not the most secure, in fact, when I place it in a bag that has plenty of empty space in it, I usually find that my spare change goes rolling around freed from its knitted prison. Some people don’t carry much change, but as a bus user I live off of it and for that reason, I needed somewhere more secure to keep my money.

A few weeks ago I decided that I would have a go at sewing one. I’ve sewed a few things over the years; a pair of pyjama bottoms, a bag, a phone pouch. They’re not always the neatest, I’m still quite amateur when it comes to using my sewing machine, but they’re definitely usable. I went as far as to cut up fabric to prepare my sewing project, for various reasons I left it unsewn.

Today I went back to my sewing project and realised that I couldn’t remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing with the pieces of fabric I’d cut up. So I went back to the drawing board, looked through a book, and found the perfect purse (wallet to those who call a bag a purse) to sew.

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It’s a very basic sew, really. The easier of the zip options, according to my book. I’m very rusty with zips, I’ve only used one once before and it wasn’t a very successful sew at all.

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As with most sewing projects, there are basic items needed and a few extra items too. The fabric – two different kinds; one for the exterior and one for the interior lining, pins to hold everything in place, a zip, a pair of scissors and of course, my book. I thought I would need some interfacing which strengthens the material – I didn’t use it on this occasion, nor did I use the buttons I was planning on using for decoration purposes.

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To begin I made a pattern, because it’s so basic and quite a small project I just used a sheet of lined paper. I measured out the shape and size I needed then I attached the pieces to the material.

I needed:

2 exterior pieces

2 interior pieces

2 zip end pieces

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Once I’d cut everything out then there was nothing stopping me from getting started. I attached the zip ends to the zip, which was quite fiddly because the zip is only small and so are the end pieces of fabric. I find that when I used my sewing machine I can often go a little too fast, which causes all sorts of trouble. To avoid that I actually sewed the zip ends manually, not by hand, but by using the sewing machine and turning the wheels until it had put a row of stitches into each zip end. I found it to be the most successful way of doing it, for me, as doing it using the electronic turn, I would have messed it all up.

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With the zip done, it was on to attaching the exterior and interior pieces. I found it really useful to have to secure the zip edge between the interior and exterior sheets of fabric. I’d never thought of doing it that way, but it makes sense to ensure that it’s secure enough. I had a couple of false starts, sewing along a straight line is difficult, sewing along a straight line when you have very little opportunity for movement is even harder. I had to make sure the stitches went through both the exterior and interior pieces and through the edge of the zip so there wasn’t a lot of wriggle room. I had to unstitch a row at least twice before I finally got it right.

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The final bit was probably the hardest to get my head around. I had to stitch the exterior pieces together and the interior pieces together – all while making sure I could still turn the purse “inside out” so that the right side was showing. I had a couple of false starts, but I got there in the end. I stitched it all up until there was just a small hole in which to twisted the fabric back on itself. It was fiddly to close the hole, but definitely worth it.

It may not be the neatest of purses, or my best attempt at sewing, it may also not be very sturdy. But for a first attempt at a purse, and a first successful attempt at using a zip, it’s not a bad effort. Now my money will be a lot safer than it’s been recently.

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8(The finished product!)

Narrative

Yesterday I wrote about different kinds of novels and the difference between linear and non-linear storytelling. I also mentioned point of view and indirectly, narrative, something which I have a lot of interest in.

Narrative is a very important part of a story. The voice a story is told from can make or break a story and it’s something which makes translating a novel into a screenplay rather difficult. The Hunger Games, whilst revered by many, also lost some of its magic (or so they say) because being put on the screen meant that the viewpoint couldn’t be honoured in the same way.

As many of you will already know, there are three main narratives; first person, second person and third person.

First person seems to be very popular in storytelling, it makes sense because it’s very personal to the character telling the story. You get to know what “I” think about the story and how the main character experiences the world that they are in. The only problem is that it makes it difficult to look at other character’s experiences, unless you include several viewpoints in the story.

Third person is just as popular, it gives a more umbrella view of a world looking at it from the eyes of “he” or “she”. You can include aspects of a person’s thoughts or feelings, though it works differently from first person. It allows for more character’s viewpoints to be explored. It does sometimes lose the personal “I think…” aspect of first person, however.

Then there’s second person. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book written in second person narrative. I’d really like to, but it’s not very popular. How often do you read a novel that talks about “you”? It is, however, a useful tool for non-fiction books. I think that as a novel written in second person, it would probably be very intense. It almost puts the reader at the centre of the story, something which may feel too intense for some people.

I think that all three narratives have their uses in fiction – yes, even second person. It all depends on what story you want to tell, who you want to write about and what experience you want the reader to have. The epistolary novels I mentioned yesterday create a different environment to that of prose and dialogue. So is true of narrative.

The Harry Potter series was written in third person, whilst the story is generally from Harry Potter’s point of view, the way it is written allows for some aspects of others’ experiences to be included in some capacity. Had the story been written in first person, the stories would probably feel very different.

Many stories written as epistolary novels, such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Colour Purple, are written in first person. Pulling them out of first person and into third person would change them completely. We would lose so much of that personal feeling and thought that the stories would be unrecognisable if they were rewritten in a different narrative. The Color Purple is a very personal story about one woman’s life and horrific experiences, so to recreate the story in third person, much of that would probably be lost.

As someone who has spent a lot of time reading and writing fanfiction for a portion of my life I think that first and third person are miles apart. In fanfiction, for me, it feels like it’s too personal for a story to be written in first person. I doubt any fan knows a character well enough to write their innermost thoughts and feelings, as much as we might like to think that we do. Which is why I believe first person in fanfiction isn’t the way to go. Third person gives just enough distance for it not to be a problem.

In novel writing, however, I believe the author knows their character better than anyone else and that’s why first person works so well. You are enough of your character for you to be able to be the “I” you’re writing.

I think I’m part of a minority that enjoys second person. Being in a world where fanfiction is popular, I’ve written second person from time to time. It’s easier to create short pieces in this narrative because it doesn’t matter how intense the story becomes. Some believe anything more than a short piece would be too much written in second person. I’m not so sure and I’d love to have a go. I believe that the intensity of second person would give a unique stance on many stories.

Second person, though, isn’t popular. I’m not sure how many novels there are in the world that contain second person narrative. I wonder, however, how many have snippets written in such a way. Perhaps that’s a more acceptable way of writing second person narrative, to interlink it with first or third person so that a story is made up of multiple narratives.

There are other versions of these three main narratives, usually involving tenses. First person past tense, first person present tense, etc. But for the sake of ease and not confusing things, I have talked mainly about the three different ‘person’. Whichever narrative you choose for your writing, it has to fit for you. What’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for someone else, and what’s wrong for me might actually be everything a person needs to make their writing everything they’d hoped it would be.