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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First or Third Person?

When I wrote my first book, Letting Go, it was in first person. I told the story from Sabrina's POV. When I got that first acceptance letter from Siren Publishing (still hearing angels singing,) they made it conditional that I change the story to third person and add in Jonas's point of view.

I was deflated. I liked it in first person. A lot. But I did it because I so badly wanted to be published. The story did benefit from having Jonas's thoughts and feelings put in, but I felt like it lost something when I had to take out thoughts, observations, and insights that now fell under the category of "head hopping." You see, in first person, a character can make suppositions. In third person, those suppositions become taboo. When I get the rights back to Letting Go, I plan to revise it back into a first person story.

In the meantime, I've recently returned to writing from the first person perspective. Surreal Neal, the sixth book in the Awakenings series, is written in first person. I learned my lesson from Letting Go, however, and the chapters rotate between Sophia, Drew, and Neal. If you're not familiar with Hanging On, you can still pick up Surreal Neal and enjoy it, though I think you'll enjoy the second story more if you've been with Drew and Sophia from the start.

Rotating the chapters allowed me to present all points of view--which I think is the big fear with first person stories, that you'll lose the global perspective--and still delve deeply into the characters. I think it's one of the best in that series so far. With In Their Hearts (Two Masters for Samantha #2--due out in December),  I returned to the third person perspective. It wasn't for any particular reason. Hanging On was originally written in 1st person as well, and I think it works for those stories. In Their Hearts did not call to me on a first person level. It works very well from third person, though I did again rotate points of view so that the reader gets to experience the story from all perspectives.

In the meantime, I started a new series. It's a mainstream romance (with heat--don't worry, there's still sex) that's written entirely from the heroine's perspective. She has the most to lose in this series (Kiss Me, in case you were wondering.) I wrote them almost like a diary, and I took inspiration from the classics. Lacey (main character) speaks directly to her readers, at time dropping the figurative fourth wall. In the second book, she does give the epilogue to the hero so that he can vindicate himself a bit. He doesn't even bother with a narrative style. He speaks directly to the reader in a conversational tone. I think it's the best thing I've written yet. It's a two-book series (so far), and it's the first series I've ever contracted where I had a deadline for a book I hadn't yet written. It'll be out sometime in 2014 (I hope) from Omnific Publishing. (More to come about that later.)


Rose Anderson said...

I do my best writing in 1st. I get into my character's skin and walk through their world taking in all the details. Thought-provoking post Michele.

D. Ryan said...

Thanks, Rose!
Michele Z.