After a year of starting third person novels, over-plotting, over-thinking, losing interest, abandoning them, I was finally revisited by my Muse and began a new book. In first person.
What it says about my ego, I don’t know, but I’m lured by first person voice as a reader and as a writer… and yet we’re told, endlessly, how debut novelists should stick to third.
So I’m experimenting with shifting this new book into third – now, before I get too far in and such a change would be a pain – and comparing the results of the first 4k words in each POV.
Something is clearly lost – a sense of moodiness, obviously the closeness – and yet I figured there must also be gains. Distance has its own value, moodiness is a matter of word order – there’s more to change than just putting “I” into “she” – and, of course, third person means no restrictions on what the narrator can see.
But even though I think the gains do outweigh the losses, I can’t switch off that inner first person and am still thinking through story elements in that voice. I’m a Method Writer – need to be firmly in the head of a protagonist to be able to enjoy writing them, even when they’re dark, miserable and being them means teetering on the edge of their abyss…
Oh. Yes. Hang on… I’d forgotten how horrible it got writing The Sky is Not Blue, sat in a dark, windowless shed, smoking a thousand ciggies and drinking way too much wine whilst the rest of the world was outside enjoying the sunshine.
Third person it is then. Let sanity be mine.