Musings On The 1st Person Voice In Stories...
Then yesterday, something else happened. An idea for a different book that is part of my Para-Earth series started gelling like no one's business. It had sat on the back-burner for so long now it was boiling over. Scenes and characters started coming to life to such an extent I had only one of three options:
A) Start writing the book
B) Leave it alone and hope I don't forget all this great stuff that was coming up
C) Start taking notes and outlining the damn thing for later.
I tried opting for C but next thing I knew I had written the opening scene of the book and was plunging forward with the project. Tentatively I'm calling it "The Vampire Blogs". And as a homage to Bram Stoker who gave us "Dracula" I'm doing it as a series of journal and blog entries. I'm choosing this route because I knew I wanted to do the entire book in the 1st person perspective. Now most 1st person narratives stick with just one character throughout the entire story. This is a great device for a mystery or thriller because the audience can only know as much as the main character. So when he/she gets surprised by something they didn't know, so are we.
However, I knew from the start I'd need to be showing the audience what was going on in several different people's heads while using the 1st person voice. So how was I going to pull that off without confusing the hell out of my readers? I turned to my "Spare Brain", my wife Helen who is more well read than me, and asked for advice. She told me that from what she could recall it had been done before but that it could be tricky. Then she struck on the idea of paying homage to Mr. Stoker and instead of just letters and journals, use blogs and journals on the internet since I was using a modern day setting. This was a masterstroke on her part. I now had a clear path of how to switch heads and keep the "I" voice without confusing the audience. The other thing I loved was the fact that I could build more suspense by letting the audience know things that only some of the characters were aware of. Nothing gets an audience going like seeing some of what's coming and realizing the characters don't have a clue about it yet. Plus you can still surprise your audience at times because they don't necessarily know everything about the characters or the situation. They know only what your characters have shared with them so far.
That's all for now. Until next time, keep writing!