I’m the mother of three sons, all voracious readers, and all highly opinionated. Each knows what he expects from a story, so if he’s going to invest time reading a book, it better deliver. So, no surprise that as I rinsed the dishes and arranged them in the dishwasher my youngest son, Joey joined me to talk books.
“Hey Ma, do you prefer books written in first or third person?”
I thought for a moment, which did I prefer? First or third person point of view? “Either as long as it’s well done.”
A lively discussion ensued regarding the pros and cons of first person…he had mostly cons, I was somewhat divided.
I wondered how my writer friends might feel about the topic, so I brought it up at a recent write in.
“It doesn’t work well in fantasy, how do you give the reader a view of the world you’ve built in first person?”
“Don’t like it, it just doesn’t work for me.”
“The reader’s view is too limited in first person.”
The majority landed on the third person POV team.
Interestingly enough I’d never considered POV as controversial until these conversations. Personally, I love good writing, and whether the author delivers in first or in third, I’m happy.
First person done well can be amazing. Think Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, or Edgar Allen Poe’s, The Tell Tale Heart. Either story can be told in third person, but first person gives you a more personal glimpse into the main character’s head, and The Tell-Tale Heart gives you a view of the mind of an insane person that you probably couldn’t get in third person.
Some of my current favorite authors do first person brilliantly.
Author, Megan Hart writes in both first and third person and does both well. Her first-person books are seductive, slightly dark and suck the reader in from the very first line. As a reader you know her heroine, and each page gives you a better understanding of the main character, the choices she makes, what she thinks and how she feels.
The Book Seller, by Cynthia Swanson is written in first person. Swanson could have told the story in third, but by writing in first, she kept secrets from the reader, only to be revealed at the perfect moment.
Erika Robuck pens literary fiction in first person. Many of her stories offer a glimpse into the life of a historical figure, but written from the point of view of a fictional character who could have been in their life. By doing this, Robuck is able to present a different perspective. The story is fiction, but with an amazing excellent historical detail. She leaves you wondering…what if?
I write primarily in third person, but occasionally in first. And I read and love both. Tell a good story, make me turn the next page. If the writer puts me into their world and I don’t want to leave, I don’t care what tools she (or he) uses to get me there.
What about you? Do you prefer to read third person or first? And why? Or do you care? Which do you use when you write?
There’s a very special group on Facebook, if I do say so myself. The #CharmedWriters group. You may or may not have heard of it. It’s a semisecret group but it has a lot of power, at least within its members and special guests.
It started a couple of years ago at this very time. Many of our local writer friends were getting ready to attend the annual Romantic Times Convention. For those of you not familiar with it, Romantic Times is a magazine for romance readers. Every year they put together an amazing convention that connects romance readers with the authors that they love.
Anyway, many of us were “stuck at home, while our friends were at RT 2016”. And thus, a Facebook event titled Stuck at Home While My Friends are at RT was born. I invited all of my writer friends, at the time mostly romance writers. And they invited some of their friends. About 25 authors participated. It was basically a Butt in Chair event, where our goal was to keep our butts in our desk chairs, and see how many words we could write while our friends were partying at Romantic Times. We had word count challenges, we talked about promo, we had online happy hours for networking. All in all, I think those who attended had a great time, I know I did.
Many of the writers broke their highest daily and weekly word counts that week, individually writing 10, 20 and more than 30,000 words. We got a lot of work done, learned from each other, made new friends, and motivated and inspired each other.
And I gave out charms. Lots and lots of charms. When the week ended, we didn’t want this special week to just fizzle and go away, and the #CharmedWriters group was formed, named for the charms we earned while writing. We continued writing together regularly in what we call Office Hours, and had a few more Butt in Chair events in 2016.
Last year I added speakers to the Stuck at Home event, making it more of an online conference, and the most amazing people stepped up and hosted online Ask an Authors and Workshops, and the event has continued to evolve including not just authors, but industry experts. Members get access to some highly successful and incredibly brilliant people.
Next week we have a special line up of speakers including the wildly talented romance author Megan Hart (I’m a huge fan!). Author, and book coach the inspiring Ara Grigorian. The multi-talented romance author, editor and cover designer Judi Fennell. Award winning YA author, marketing wiz, and my former playgroup friend, Elena Dillon. Romance author and historical fashion designer/seamstress Victoria Vane, I’ve seen her gowns in person and they are amazing! And publicist and career coach Robin Blakely, who works with my friend, author of my favorite legal thrillers, Rebecca Forster…who has previously been a presenter for #CharmedWriters, and if you haven’t read her books you should! Not that she needs me to promo for her, she’s a brilliant writer…and she has Robin Blakely! And you probably know both Rebecca and Robin from right here on Slice of Orange.
Do you wish you were a member now? Keep reading!
A couple of weeks ago we hit 100 members when a friend of mine from middle school, author Christine Simolke, joined the group.
Our membership is made up of authors at various stages in their writing journey, but all are seriously pursuing a writing career. We share our work, give and receive help, share experience and knowledge, help each other promote, and even more. Many of us have become friends, we share a passion that even if our friends and family support us, they don’t always understand. It’s truly a #CharmedPlace.
To be included you need to be invited by a member of the group, and you need to be actively writing. So, if you’re actively writing, and you’d like to be a #CharmedWriter, consider this an invitation! Friend me on Facebook and if we’re already friends just send me a message!
So, being Stuck at Home While My Friends are at RT is no longer such a bad thing! And now you know why I titled my column Charmed Writer. Because I am!!
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