Monday, March 26, 2007


This is all about the voice. When you write in first person, you're telling that story from one character's point of view, in that character's voice. It's the classic PI perspective and allows the hero to make all sorts of comments on the action, comments that might be out of place in third person.

The first version of Panamanian Moon was in first person and third person because I had no idea how to build suspense when I was limited to what John Harper could see for himself. But I thought that switching from first to third was cheating, so I rewrote it all in first person.

One of the reasons my WIP is taking so long is that I'm writing in third person and that magnifies issues of plot, rhythm, voice and in each scene I risk switching points of view, something that is so easy to do and so hard to fix. The advantages are a bigger book with a wider scope, subplots that are well-developed, and the ability to set things in motion with one character and watch as it plays out with other characters. All good, but it's a lot harder, at least it is to me.

What about you? What POV do you use and why? What do you sacrifice and what do you gain by the choice? And I know several writers who switch from first to third and pull it off just fine, but is it kosher?

Talk to me.

Update: For those interested in the comments, go to Crimespace.

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