Sunday, November 01, 2009


When something doesn't work it's madness to continue. That's not to say one should shift goals but rather the method by which one hopes to obtain those goals. Our local's writer's group did a wonderful experiment several years ago to increase one's productivity. We each made a list of our writing limitations (ie. I can only write on the computer as the click of the keys triggers a creative response) After examining the list our challenge was to write in as many different venues, with as many different tools(pen, paper,sand, branch,pencil, etc.) as possible. Productivity for the group overall increased and mine was shot from a cannon now that I didn't need the laptop.

I feel that I'm standing at another crossroads. For the past year I've been writing something completely different - Casey's non-fiction story. It's hard work, no two ways about it. In one sense I'm merely recording the healing process but in another I'm analyzing our interaction, studying what works and what doesn't then evaluating our roles in all of it. I can't hide behind fiction but have to stare the bald truth in the face and acknowledge the ways in which I've failed as well how I've helped triumph. Honesty is painful.

At the same time, it helps people connect to the subject matter immediately. As soon as you read first person, you're immersed in the story. As a reader and a writer, my preference is for third person. I like omniscience. I'm the person, who not only wants to know everything, often thinks she does.

In the last year as I've worked on Casey's story, while playing with another paranormal and a women's fiction, I've noticed my reading habits have undergone a huge transformation. One of my favourite books in that time frame was The Host. I was shocked at how quickly, and deeply, I identified with the main character given that it was written in first person by an alien. One of my other favourite series was Outlander, also first person. And let's not forget The Art of Racing in the Rain" - another first person point-of-view, even if it is a dog's.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that if readers aren't connecting with my third person protagonists, perhaps it's time to consider first person. That's a daunting task for someone who likes to be omniscient.

1 comment:

  1. I like being omniscient too... actually I don't think I am omnish, but I like thinking I am :)

    Yes, I know what you actually meant, I'm just being silly.

    When I was younger I used to read a lot of Mary Stewart books. They're all written in 1st person except for one, which I absolutely loathed. She had a successful career writing in 1st person. Maybe you will too. Certainly worth a try.

    arkhalyf - a rare type of Icelandic delicacy, which is too indelicate to describe here :)