Mar 6, 2014


It's a word every author fears. And it's one I think I may have to accept for my new Carver & McCain book.

I'd been experimenting with 1st-person, a POV I don't usually choose. My idea was that each of the two protagonists would share spotlight time as the book's narrator. Unfortunately, looking over what I have so far, I don't think I've developed enough of a distinct voice for each of them.

While Carver and McCain's personalities do clash, they're both still cops working together. Therefore they have similar goals, and are experiencing the same environments. These factors add up to make it even more challenging to distinguish between them, and even I was having trouble keeping track of which of them was narrating at any given point.

So I'll be going back to the start, re-writing the book in my usual 3rd-person POV. In fairness, I was still in the early stages of the book, so it's better to catch this now than struggle on with the shadow of a re-write lingering over me the whole time.

Hopefully writing in 3rd-person will help me get back into my writing flow and get the first draft completed sooner


  1. Don't know if it applies, but I'll just fling it at you -- maybe first person POV was a good choice for the story, and you've just not warmed up to it yet. Try to rewrite a few chapters keeping the POVs, focusing only on fine-tuning them.

    A few tips from someone who writes in first person AND third person in the same book, if you'll have them:

    - The best way to have distinct first person voices for your characters is to ignore what they have in common, and focus only on their differences. Write a few things that affect each of their perspectives, their personalities, their visions of the world, on a piece of paper and tape it somewhere before you when you write in that character's POV. Read it every time you express that character's thoughts.

    - Rewrite only the chapters from POV #1, skipping the others, to stay in that character's voice. Fine-tune it as you get deeper into their head. Only after going through the whole MS this way, move on to the chapters from the other POV.

    - If the characters still feel too much alike, maybe it's not their voice that's the problem. Maybe they simply have too much in common, in which case you need to work on characterization more, not on POV.

    Of course, all this said without having read your MS. You could just as well be right and first person POV isn't the best choice for it, but I wouldn't dismiss it just yet. Give it a second try. :)

    1. I'm more comfortable with 3rd-person, generally. I'm concerned that the work involved to make dual 1st-person work wouldn't be worth the cost in time.

  2. I'm not sure 1st person is a good choice of you're switching viewpoints. Not sure I've ever read a book where it worked. Not sure I've ever read one where it was done! I'm not fond of that viewpoint anyway and used to avoid buying books written that way so maybe it is workable.

    1. Off-hand I can only think of Dracula. Though I'm told Jodi Picoult does it as well.