If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, September 2, 2010

WRITERS' CHOICES

I’m in the process of changing my WIP, THE STINKING FLOWER, from first to third person point of view. A year ago this would have seemed an impossible task. Through my revisions and my drafts of query letters and synopses, I’ve learned more about my characters and my story. There’s nothing cozy or chatty about the world where my protagonist lives. Even when she’s with friends or her lover, the conversation turns to death and rape.

My first few drafts written in the first person point of view helped me with credibility and authenticity. However, when I stepped back from my story, I saw that my protagonist could more easily journey through a dark world if I wrote in the third person point of view. She separated from her creator.

My decision doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in other points of view and how they work in different novels. First person, present tense works for Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Charlotte McNally series because TV reporters come into our living rooms and report intimately on breaking news. The first person, past tense works in Roberta Isleib’s ASKING FOR MURDER and Rosemary Harris’s PUSHING UP DAISIES because the protagonists are defined in part by what they do. Roberta Isleib’s Dr. Butterman is a shrink and an advice columnist. Rosemary Harris’s Paula Holliday is a gardener. My protagonist changes in THE STINKING FLOWER because of the dark subject matter she has to confront.

I’m using multiple third person points of view in another novel I’ve just started. So far, it seems to work but maybe a year from now, I’ll change it.

Janet Evanovich starts ELEVEN ON TOP by having her main character introduce herself to the reader and talk about her previous work experience. According to many writers, editors, and agents that is a no-no. However, Stephanie Plum is a brand name and so she’s known as well as a best friend to many of Evanovich’s readers and therefore it seems natural for her to address the reader. As an unknown writer, I wouldn’t attempt that kind of intimacy with readers.

I’m reading Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. He’s been criticized for being too wordy, for jumping from one character’s point of view to another in consecutive chapters, and for telling and not showing, among other criticisms. I’m sure Stieg Larsson has his faults as a writer but I’ve enjoyed the first two novels and anticipate enjoying the third. By chapter three in the first book, I had faith that characters’ storylines would mesh. The novels are almost too long to fit into a paperback. Whenever I’ve changed a telling section in a chapter into a scene, the story expanded. Naturally, a novel doesn’t have to fit into a print category but, from a practical point of view, how many readers today delve into thousand page books?

Point of view, tense, style, they are all possibilities until a writer makes a choice. Perhaps when agents say they don’t like first person or present tense or there’s too much telling and not enough action, they’re just finding a way to reject a particular manuscript because it doesn’t appeal to their tastes.

How do you choose point of view and tense?

8 comments:

Rosemary Harris said...

Hi Pauline,
I started writing Daisies in third person, and after a while I felt that was too distant for the type of story I was writing. I wanted the reader to feel pulled along on the adventure with Paula and thought I could accomplish that more easily in first person. Perhaps because the stakes are not usually as high (except for the murder victims!)in traditional mysteries as they are in thrillers or suspense novels - Paula is probably not going to save the world from thermonuclear warfare, although you never know - the amateur sleuth novel can be more exciting if the reader feels she's participating in the action.

Pauline Alldred said...

I certainly enjoyed your novel and felt pulled along by Paula's story. I kept calling my WIP an amateur sleuth until both critics and I realized it wasn't.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey all! Thank you so much..and yes, the first person present is a big part of how Charlotte McNally lives--in TV news, it's all happening right now, breaking news, decisions on the fly, nothing taken for granted and nothing certain. That's first person presnt.

How did I "decide"? That's such a great question--I never "decided."

I had an idea for a plot. I loved it. I thought of the first line. I loved it. It was in first person present, and so that's how it went.
And that was Prime Time.

But now, four books later, I'm trying something new. In third. Yikes! What a change! So,we'll see.

Good luck with your writing..and love to all the Writers Who Kill!

(Oh, my captcha word is criesses. It must know I'm working on a first draft... :-) )

Roberta Isleib said...

Hi Pauline, thanks for the shout out! Good for you for being willing to change your perspective as your novel requires that...

I wrote the proposal for the advice column mystery series in the third person, like Rosemary. But my agent felt the character was too distant and suggested I try first person. The rest is history...

Pauline Alldred said...

Good to hear from you both, Hank and Roberta. I'm always interested in how writers make the choices that they do. And sometimes it just happens! I'm looking forward to your next novels.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Thanks, Pauline! xo

Marni said...

I wrote my Trudy Genova novel in first and changed it to third. When it came to the now-published Blue Virgin, I never hesitated with third; I knew I had to get around Oxford from more than one character's POV.

I think first person works: look at Lisa Lutz's Spellman Files series, or the lovely Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie). No one but Flavia could tell those stories as well. It's a tough decision for a writer, and the I think the flow and plot of the story have a lot of influence on making that decision.

Polly said...

Good for you, Pauline. I think making that switch is a very brave move. I tried writing in first person when I first started writing, but I found it confining. I wanted to get into other people's heads. So that's where I've stayed. I'm writing one now that has only two POVs. That's a first for me, and so far, so good. I think the characters tell the story to the writer. Whatever they say goes with me.