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Friday, June 14, 2013

Do You Like Writing/Reading Books Written in First Person?



I've written books both ways, and never heard any negative feedback about using either approach. Here's what I've been pondering.

Writing from my heroine's POV for the entire book really gave me a great perspective on her views. I loved being in her head the whole time. I could watch the story unfold, and share her assessments of others, including the hero. I felt every reaction she had and commiserated with her when heartache hit.

However, there are some publishers who won't accept first-person manuscripts. Years ago, I ghostwrote a nonfiction memoir in third person. An agent was intrigued, but asked that I rewrite it in first-person. Doing such a rewrite isn't just changing every "Jane" to "I" or "her" to "my". I had to carefully edit each sentence to only reflect "Jane's" POV.

It was a major undertaking, but in the end, I thought the book "read" better in first-person and sent it to the agent. She, however, rejected it and returned it to me within days. I somehow feel that she never checked it! Anyway, I published it as an ebook in 1999. Then, in 2012, I published another nonfiction book...in first person. This was a more difficult book to write, as getting into the main character's head proved to be a challenge.

 I understand when people comment about wanting to "get a feel" for both the hero and heroine...and maybe a first-person POV doesn't give enough for the reader to "bond" with the hero. Something to think about when making a decision to write in first person.


My book, "Gone to the Dogs" , was the fastest one I wrote...and I think it was because I was in Katie's head and wrote it in first-person. The words and actions just flowed, and I really connected with her. Here's a sample from the book:

"In mere seconds we climaxed as we passionately clung to each other while soothing drops of water flowed down our bodies. This was sheer heaven. We’d both enjoyed our rendezvous once we crossed that line from arguing with each other to channeling our energy in a more passionate direction.

As my breathing tried to return to normal I knew in my heart that one encounter with sexy Mike wouldn’t be enough. Like eating potato chips I wouldn’t be able to stop at one. No chance I’d be able to dry off, thank him for a lovely evening and be on my merry way. No. Mike had taken up residence under my skin and I’d need much more of him to satisfy my craving for additional intimate contact.

I moved my head closer to his ear and whispered, “Round two in bed?” Subtleness with my new sex partner would take a hike. A woman with a mission and eagerness to lead the way transformed me into a she-cat.

Katie-cat was on the prowl."

 I can feel her every emotion, reaction, and desire...and urge to never let those sensations end.

 Do you enjoy reading/writing in first-person?

9 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

I've used 1st person POV in the Loving Leonardo series and in Hermes Online. I prefer it actually. It's exactly as you mention -- a great perspective on the person's views. I too loved being in their heads the whole time, watching the story unfold and sharing how they interpret the world. To me it's the difference between a biography and an autobiography. Who knows the story better than the person living it? Great post Marianne.

Melissa Keir said...

I love to write in first person because it gets into the character's head. But there are some stories that are better in third person. They need to have the story told from the outside looking in. It can be a challenge to go outside your comfort zone and write in that way.

Loved the post!

Tina Donahue said...

I love first person POV. It's so immediate and deep. I'd love to write a book in it someday.

jean hart stewart said...

Haven't done a whole book in 1st person yet. A challenge I'll have to keep in mind til I get the courage. For some reasons it daunts me.

Cara Marsi said...

I love writing in first person. All of my short stories for the confession magazines are in first person. The short stories I published myself are in first person. I know there are readers who don't like first person. The first short story I sold to Boroughs Publishing Group was in first person. The editor wanted me to add scenes with the hero's POV. I put his POV in third person. That was really different for me. I've never written a full book in first person, only short stories.

Denysé Bridger said...

My first EC book, Hide and Secret, was written in first person, and while it was an interesting challenge and I enjoyed it - reviewers frequently complained about the first person POV because they felt robbed of Quinn's thoughts and reactions. So, I really believe it's a matter of tastes and approach. I've never been a huge fan of entire books in first person, though once I get into some of them, I don't even notice it anymore.

Wishing you much success!!

VICKI BATMAN, said...

Hi, Marianne! I love writing in first person. I can get in the character's heads and really convey their emotions, what they are seeing and feeling. I am not into head hopping. I've heard people say I don't read first POV and I'm like why? They sure are missing a lot of great mysteries.

Paris said...

I had never attempted first person but as an exercise decided to do the opening of Assassin's Kiss in first person for a workshop. It made everything more immediate and to my mind exciting. Since I wanted the book in third person, I revised again but happily found that the emotions that I'd been able to utilize in first, worked very well in third. It made such a difference!

Sandy said...

I have read both, Marianne. I enjoy both.

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