Being someone else

I have always felt that writing fiction in the first person is a bit of a cop out. Much too easy to put oneself into one's imaginary situation, however hard the writer may struggle to disengage.

In the same way I usually distrust the storyteller who tells his tale, whether in first or third person, through the eyes and the mind and the feelings of someone of an age, sex and background very similar to his own. Why cannot, say, a middle aged male writer narrate his imaginary story as a twelve year old boy or as an old lady or as some other person quite different in age, race, sex - or is perhaps from a background radically different to his own.

That is not uncommon but I only know of one writer who does being someone else - indeed anyone and everyone else - all of the time; and he, of course, is that extra terrestial who went / goes by the name of William Shakespeare.

I wrote a short story through the eyes of the fifty years old wife of that Mr. Shakespeare and then another short story through the eyes and the tortured mind of a forty years old psychotic businesswoman. Both remain unpublished, but my next novel is going to try something similar ... that is, my third person viewpoint character being someone hugely different from myself in sex, age, background and attitude. Should be fun. Will it work? Don't know, but watch this space!

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