Writing Challenge Tips: First Person Fortnight Competition

This round of Writing Challenge is a bit different than usual, it doesn’t have a standard theme; instead, all stories must be written as a first person narrative . The deadline for this challenge is July 21st and instead of our regular 3000 word limit, this time you have some more space and can write up to 5000 words. Though unusual, first person narrative is not foreign to science fiction, on the contrary, some of the best stories are written in the first person. So if you don’t have idea what to write about or how to approach to the Challenge and want to write for it, here are few stories that may help you.

My personal favorite is  “Forever War” by Joe Haldeman. Also awarded, “Forever Peace“, which is kind of a sequel, is written partly in the first person. “Forever War” is a story about the William Mandala, a former physics teacher, who is drafted into the war between Terrans and Taurans. He goes to war, and when he returns,  twenty seven years pass on Earth, when to him it’s only been a year. He becomes unable to cope with the change, so he returns to the army.  “Forever Peace” is a story of the “cold war” with the use of remotely controlled robots. While I really loved Forever War, Forever Peace – despite its ideas and visions – didn’t satisfy as much as the first one.

Another famous first person story in the SF genre is “Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand” by Samuel R. Delany. It’s a space fantasy about the industrial diplomat and star traveler Marq Hyeth, the narrator in the story. In some segments it’s hard to read, with  reflection on complicated unresolved philosophical questions, but this story belongs to some of the best SF works of all time.

Prey” by Michael Crichton is a story based on a nano-robotic threat to human-kind. The book is full of action and features lot of modern nano-technology.

Roadside Picnic”  by Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky was one of the first SF stories I remember reading. What I remember mostly is all of the wonderful artifacts. For a long time I was dreaming of being an archeologist, just because of this book; always expecting to maybe one day prove “they” visited Earth, to uncover something fantastic and unbelievable, no matter how dangerous.

Stanislaw Lem’s short stories about Ijon Tichy  with books like The Star Diaries, Memoirs of a Space Traveler, The Futurological Congress, are also told in first-person, although Tichy is mainly operating as a dispassionate observer.

I hope this will help you in your endeavor.