Sunday, October 15, 2006

Choosing POV—Romantic Times Forum

Third may be what agents, editors and so on want. They want what they've had before. But a complete novel in first person doesn't have to be boring, it gives an insigt into the mind and heart of the character, and if crafted and told properly you can even imply that the first person narrative is telling us the truth, withholding the truth, or lying. That can be cool and more humanly tactile and flawed than the uber third person.

Reference the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for six and more to come great novels about Clare, in first person, and Jamie and their family, with everything Clare can't witness personally coming in third. And excellent combination of both.

If doing it all in first make certain to keep the tense appropriate, be honest and lead and misdirect us, and absolutely don't say anything that the character wasn't directly there to experience, see, hear, feel, etcetera, and keep it with them even if another characters talks and adds additional information that the main did not witness.

It can be done, it's a brave writer's challenge to make it real. We live our lives in first person, and we're supposedly real.

Most important do what is best for the character's. If we only need to know what the first knows then stay there and imply and let us read into it what she hasn't told, is withholding, or fogetten.

Use a combination of both if we really need to get an ├╝ber view of what she refuses to acknowledge or is hiding. Or we need to see an honest view of what another sees and thinks of her. This is what I'm doing for my novel "Aegis". People lie to themselves and us. Characters can too.

But in first person, since the main is giving out ALL the information, then it can be a surprise later when we find an assumption they implied or blatantly portrayed or said is not.

Do what is absolutely right for your characters' and their story(ies), only you can do that and preguessing strangers at an agency or pub firm will only undercut and ruin that. Be brave, make your best choice, listen to your characters and decide what is best to tell their story; they trust you tell channel them as clearly to us as possible. At least that is the way it is with me.