Viewpoints


I have a confession to make: I don’t typically read books written in first-person point of view.  In fact, I can’t recall having made it through a single book done in first-person.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been extremely particular about how I handle POV when I write.  I can’t/won’t do omniscient (not that there’s anything wrong with it.  It’s just not my thing).  I like to be in one head per chapter/section and filter my entire narrative through that perspective.  It’s the way my mind works and processes information.

Then along came The Shadow Walker.

I started writing the first book in third-person, but it just wasn’t working.  I did three takes before a little voice in the back of my mind told me to try first-person.  Normally, I disregard what the voices tell me to do, or else I would have surely ended in jail or gone out in a blaze of glory by now, but this time, I decided to heed its advice.  The prose instantly flowed and I came to realize something.

I enjoy writing in first-person.

There was a time I considered writing The Four-Year-Old Guardian in first-person.  Looking back at it, aside from a few small chapters, everything is from Nick’s POV.  But I knew going forward into Bravado/Dramatique and the rest of the series, I’d be introducing more and more POVs.  So I decided to stick to my comfort zone and keep it in third-person.

The Shadow Walker was an easier call.  With the exception of one scene, I knew everything was going to be from Thomas’ perspective (if you’ve read the book, I’ll just say it’s the scene in the garage, which I think ended up better being in his perspective).  In fact, it was Thomas’ personality that compelled me to try first person to begin with.

When I started on the sequel, The Shadow Within (coming early next year, I swear), I didn’t think twice about it.  First-person fit that book perfectly as well.

But now that I’m working on book three, World of Shadows (coming…someday.  I promise!), I ran into a bit of trouble.  The world of Unseen Things is expanded and I now have more than one protagonist.  So when I started on this book for NaNo, I switched back to my old standby…third-person.  But now that I’m 25K words in or so, I’ve realized I have two POVs in the book and they alternate every other chapter.

I didn’t originally set out to do this on purpose, but that’s the way it’s playing out.  Which got me thinking, maybe a switch back to first-person wouldn’t be so bad.  I find myself missing the intimacy of the perspective, and since the readers know these characters by now, I think having dual first-person POVs could work, provided I label each chapter accordingly (Chapter Number, Chapter Name, POV Character).

Problem is, I’m not sure if this is acceptable.  As I said in the beginning, I don’t typically read first-person, so I’m not sure if doing this would be taboo.  Or on the other side of things, perhaps it would be more taboo to switch from one perspective to another in a series.  I personally think I’d find that more jolting, but I tend to be a freak about POV (as previously established).

So…I tried to implement a poll to get people’s opinions, but I can’t figure it out.  I’ve done it once before, so it can’t be too terribly difficult, but leave it to me to bugger it up.  Comments will have to suffice.  Any feedback you’d be willing to give is greatly appreciated, and will certainly be considered as I move forward in World of Shadows.

Thanks.

S.L. Madden

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