There are a couple of reasons why I want to talk about first-person point of view today.
The first is that my Weird Oz Story is my first attempt at novel-length first person point of view. I don’t actually think that’s why I’m stuck on that one–at least not directly.
I’ve written a couple of short stories (novelettes, really)–“Heart of Oak” and “Becoming Lioness”–in first person, but never a novel. There’s a reason for that. The shorter stories could be told from a single point of view. “Heart of Oak” really had to be told in first person, so much of that story was internal. And I just started hearing “Becoming Lioness” in first person in my head–after the first draft had already been written–and I decided to go with it.
The main reason I’ve never written a novel in first person is that I usually write from more than one point of view. (MAGE STORM being the only completed exception to date.) In my young adult stories, specifically, I usually write at least from the points of view of the girl and her love interest. Sometimes, the antagonist, too. That’s hard to do in first person.
I’ve read several published novels with more than one first-person point of view character and almost universally I’ve been struck by one thing–all the characters sound the same. They don’t have individual voices that distinguish them from each other, sometimes even when the characters have wildly different backgrounds. They should speak and think differently from each other, but I have to check the top of the page to know which character is using the pronoun “I” in a particular chapter.
I don’t want to write like that, so for now I’m sticking with a (hopefully) invisible third-person narrator when I have more than one point of view character.
On a brighter note, I have finally read a story in which multiple first-person point of view characters actually sound like different characters. It’s Alchemy, by some fellow writers I “know” from Hatrack River Writers Workshop. That seems to be at least one key to doing this right–three different writers each writing a different character. It’s a really, really good story and only $0.99. You should check it out.
In other news, the Chimeria Omnibus edition (containing both BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER) is now available just about everywhere. For a limited time (but probably at least through Christmas), it’s the same price as either book alone.
Also, another chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is available free on wattpad.