FIRST PERSON OR THIRD PERSON, THAT IS THE QUESTION?

When I initially finished my novel, Moment of Truth, it was written in the first person voice of the main character. Based on advice from my editor, I decided to reedit the story and write it in third person. Third person has its advantages in that it allows you to write “outside” of the story and add more layers to secondary characters. This method has been a struggle for me and I have finally figured out why.
This story, Adrienne’s story, revolves around her life and the consequences of her decision to marry the wrong man. All of the other characters are important but Adrienne is the center of the conflict. It is her voice in my head. The best way for me to tell it is from a first person point of view. But how do I include and add more depth to the other characters? The answer came to me by reading another book.
I am the type of writer that reads constantly. I not only read for pleasure but to study technique. I try to take note of everything from sentence structure, descriptions, how the author foreshadows the ending, dialogue, etc. It is routine for me to read three to four books in a week the entire time I am writing my own story. I just finished reading “Sing You Home” by Jodi Picoult. I enjoy all of Jodi’s books and this one did not disappoint. (If you haven’t read anything by her I suggest you pick them up.) But what stood out to me is the way she told the story. She used the first person point of view for all of the main characters in alternating fashion. The main focus of the story centers on Zoe Baxter’s life but the other characters each tell their story. The reader gets to see the issues from their point of view as well. It was a revelation to me.

This weekend I began to restructure my story. I am removing the third person edits and going back to my initial work. I am still working out which character will speak in each part of the story. I have my blueprint and I feel good about the direction.

Posted on October 10, 2011, in Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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