I’ve been thinking about point of view lately. Dark Moon Wolf and the other two books in my series Calling the Moon are written in first person, from Julie Hall’s perspective.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to first person.
Some of the advantages:
- As the reader, you feel a closer, personal connection to my protagonist. You’re in her mind. You see what she sees, you hear her thoughts, you feel her emotions. This increases the book’s immediacy and can lead to heightened emotional involvement with the story. The reader identifies with the protagonist.
- As a writer, I can develop tension between what Julie thinks/feels/knows and what the reader gradually begins to understand as the larger truth. Even with a mostly-reliable narrator, there’s also tension between Julie’s inner life–what she thinks and feels–and what she says out loud to other characters. There’s a certain mystery to the inner lives of other characters and the reader, like Julie, must guess at what’s going on for them. These are all nice sources of tension.
Some of the disadvantages:
- I’m stuck in Julie’s head. If I want to detour into something that happens with other characters, I have to present it as Julie’s learning about it. If not careful, this can lead to a lot of “telling” instead of “showing.”
- Writing in first person, especially women writing in first person–ESPECIALLY women writing in first person in less-respected (marginalized, vernacular, feminized) genres (like paranormal, fantasy, romance)–can lead readers to conflate the author and the narrator. Lots of discussion of this in literary criticism.
I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about this last point lately. Authorial voice versus narrator’s voice. What is the reader’s perception of the author/narrator relationship? Does that change when the reader personally knows the author? I’ll continue thinking and may share more if I come to any conclusions. Do you have thoughts? Share in comments, if so!
Edits on book two, Waxing Moon, are back with my editor. I think we may be close on this one. Book three, Rising Wolf, rolling along–a bit slower than I’d like, because life is so very busy. But I’m making solid progress and it feels good. (Drafts are drafts; the magic happens in the rewrite and editing phase!!)