It is incredible how many decisions there are to make while writing a book. As I am new at the re-drafting thing, I’m quite impressed of all the forks in the road that my book keeps throwing in my way. I like to think of them as the make-it-or-break it decisions. The choices I have to make that will engage my readers while telling a decent story – more than decent, maybe. It’s the moments where experience should tell me the best way to develop the storyline. But it’s the experience I’m constantly working towards.
Question: How do I make these important decisions?
My first draft was in the first person. I loved the play it allowed me with my main character but I felt restricted that I couldn’t move between my other characters. There is a lot of extended action happening at the same time and most of it gets ignored as she has no clue what is going on beyond her own setting.
This lead me to begin re-drafting the book – which might become a trilogy – in the third person. It seemed to be working well. It was clean, it allowed me to work with other characters and build the story. However, it didn’t take long to realize something was missing. Unfortunately, I had accumulated about one hundred pages in re-writes – all in the third. In these pages I have completely changed up the storyline in a way I’m very excited about.
What was missing you ask? My character. Her thoughts were hidden behind the narrative and therefore made new readers of the material not see the same girl as those who had read it previously. At first I was confused by the comments – I admit – but it did not take long for me to catch on. After that I began to look back into the first draft and realized how effective this story is in the first person. When she tells the story there is a lot that a reader can relate to and it removes any resistance of escaping into her story.
It’s a big story, but it matters because of her.
So, there is the decision I have to make – first person or third person? I think that the answer seems obvious, and that I should really focus on her personal narrative of the story, but this is one of those make-it-or-break-it decisions. The hardest part is even with the feedback, the decision is mine. My fear is that I make the wrong one.
Answer: ‘Ah hell, It’s my book and right now no one knows what’s important to this story better than me.
Conclusion: First person.