Sunday, July 1, 2018

Should I switch from first person to writing third person points of view? Plus a review of Dark Experiments (Forever and a Night, #2) by Lana Campbell


I write in first person point of view (I/me/my) is where the character tells you what’s going on directly.

I was shit scared he’d throw me to the pack, so when he stood up and walked me round the side of the house, away from everyone else, my legs went all shaky.
Chloe, from The Bonus
In my novels, you get the story as told by my girl and her man. She gets a chapter and then he gets a chapter. (Except in Beast, where the story is told by Wynne).

I love first person because it’s so immediate. Apart from the pure whammo of personality, you get to see what my girl and her man are thinking, their inner fears, and you can see them fight with themselves as they grow.

Also, as my novels have a mystery as well as a love story plot, and my girl and her man go off and do a lot of things without the other knowing, it made sense to switch viewpoints from chapter to chapter.

I love the way you can show an incident through two sets of eyes.

Like when Chloe discovers Kyle was married before...
     “He said you were some sort of devil, and that you’d killed your wife, and that you’d kill me too.”
     I knew the moment I said it that I shouldn’t have. The stupid thing was that I did it because I thought that wank biscuit Raj had made it up just to scare me. Kyle never said anything about a wife, nor did anyone who came to see him. There were no pictures, not one, and by this time I’d gone through all his stuff. Mostly because I have this neat thing but also because I’m a nosy cow, and spring-cleaning gave me an excuse to get into everything.
     So I thought it was a windup. But it wasn’t. The moment the words were out of my mouth, Kyle’s whole body tensed. Then he got goose bumps and pulled away from me. The second I saw that, I knew what it meant. It was all true. Suddenly, I was cold to the marrow.
Of course, Chloe is petrified. She’s convinced she’s up for the chop, just like Kyle’s wife was. It leads her directly into action, which moves the plot forward. 

You'd think Kyle was a total arse, however, then he tells it from his point of view. 
     I was such a self-centred fucktard that it never occurred to me to talk to her. I took it for granted that she knew I would look out for her, but how could she? Chloe’s never been treated right in her life. I should have known she’d expect the worst.
     When she said one thing that caught me on the raw, I acted out like a whiny-assed kid and blew her off. “Let’s get some shut-eye.” Then I ignored her big, frightened eyes and pretended to sleep. She should have ripped me a new one, but she didn’t. I don’t think she could. God help me, I think she was afraid of me.
So I love what the double viewpoints do. However, the flip side is that too much is dull.

And that’s the bit that worries me. I’m never sure if I’m showing too little or too much. And feedback from readers is totally contradictory! Not enough, some say. Too much, say others. Haven't even thought about it, is a common response. Just right, has also been said. So I guess it’s a matter of personal taste.

The other problem is that having two people tell one story is quite complex in terms of planning. I need to track plot threads very carefully, and make sure that it all hangs together cleanly.Over 85,000 words and sometimes more, it's quite a project.

Practice makes perfect and the book I’m writing now, the story of Rex and Lacy, a follow-up to Helpless, is hanging together well. I’m being totally ruthless about cutting out background and focusing on keeping the story moving forward.

However, while I love being AJ Adams, I am painfully aware that it means I can only produce one and a half books a year. I have lots of ideas, and I am very keen to produce four books a year.

So I’ve been wondering if I should make a change and move on to third person point of view (she/he) where you stand outside the story and look in.
It was all there, just as she’d suspected. This was pure gold. Cassidy heaved a sigh of relief. It had been a long shot, but it had paid off.
Murder in Moscow, by Storm Chase
There is a limited version of this where you see the thoughts and actions of just one character and an omniscient version where you see the thoughts and actions of many characters.

Third person is less direct, there's less dramatic impact of personality, but it would make planning the novel a lot easier. It might save me over a month just in layout alone.

In part, I've already made a decision. For my sweet romance, as Ellen Whyte, I think I’ll move to third person for my next book. Sweet romance is much easier in terms of plot, and I think the comparative simplicity means I won’t be sacrificing too much by switching.

But I’m not sure if third person would work well for AJ Adams. Would you love it if I switched? Hate it? If you’ve thoughts on this, I really would welcome your input. So let me know?

Review: Dark Experiments (Forever and a Night, #2) by Lana Campbell
A medical thriller with fangs
This is rather an unusual crossover in terms of genre, being a medical thriller along the lines of Robin Cook, but with vampires thrown in.

I can’t stand Robin Cook and medical thrillers in general but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It’s well written and nicely paced.

I love the vampire world Lana Campbell created. It’s rich, fun and we learn about it as the story unfolds, so as a reader you kind of slide into it.

I liked Tiffany and Christian as well. They’re real people, with their little quirks and irritations. If you’re looking for trope, you won’t find them here!

As I said, medical thrillers aren’t my thing and so I skipped the bits that were devoted to injections, discussions of blood etc. However, I suspect fans of the genre will love those beautifully written details.

As a side comment, I can see Dark Experiments translating very easily into a film or television show. In some ways it reads like a John Grissom book where the author has set it out so it will be a snap to adapt to a shooting script.

If you’re looking for a good read, I’d recommend this. Also, while it’s the second story in a series, it reads brilliantly as a standalone.  You need not worry about picking this up and ending with a cliffhanger or other loose ends. Def recommended.

2 comments:

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  2. Your A.J. Adams’ works are perfect. Don’t change a thing! I like the first person POV with double viewpoint you use. Your writing has never, ever, ever been dull. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your books. I think I have given every one of your A J Adams’ books 5 star reviews on Amazon (although I do not review under this name). I just hate the idea of you changing perfection!

    (I don’t know how you authors do it, editing is hard! I found two typos in my post and had to delete it and try again! Yikes!)

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