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

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

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


Saturday, April 20, 2013


Today WWK is welcoming KM Rockwood as a guest blogger. KM is the author of the Jesse Damon series. After nearly twenty years in prison on a murder conviction picked up when he was sixteen, Jesse Damon has been released on parole with a home detention monitor strapped to his ankle. He finds a basement apartment and a job at a steel fabrication plant. Jesse is not your normal sympathetic main character, but in the book, one finds oneself rooting for Jesse when he is accused of murdering someone in the plant where he is working.

KM has a diverse background including working as a laborer in a steel fabrications plant and other manufacturing businesses. She also supervised an inmate work crew in a large medium security state prison. These jobs as well as work as a special education teacher in an alternative high school and a GED teacher in county detention facilities are the reason she can write the Jesse Damon series with such realism, understanding and compassion for her main character. Her first book is Steeled for Murder, the second now out is Fostering Death, and the next three in her five book contract are: The Buried Biker, Sendoff for a Snitch and Brothers in Crime.

Whose story is it?

How do you choose the main character and point of view (POV) for your story?

Sometimes it’s obvious, as when you realize you’re thinking about a story from one particular character’s POV. It’s particularly easy to make the decision if you realize your thinking runs to “I” narrations. Then chances are you need the first person POV. That happened to me when I first started writing my Jesse Damon Crime Novel series. I started writing in close third person POV, but noticed I was identifying so closely with the character that I was thinking in terms of “I.” A bit scary when the character in question has been paroled after spending 20 years in prison on a murder conviction. Although I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to carry it off effectively, I tried it, and it felt so comfortable that I continued.

Other times it’s trickier, or you may need multiple characters’ POV in different sections. I have a character, Miss Greyling, a very proper elderly spinster whose solution to many problems is to murder the person she feels is responsible. She definitely won’t let me in enough to use a first person POV, and in fact the close third person POV feels a little distant. She has appeared in a few short stories, but when I finish the contracted 5 Jesse Damon novels (4th is almost ready for editing) I’d like to try to work with her.

Omniscient POV, where you take the God-like role of seeing all, knowing all, isn’t as popular as it was years ago, although it’s often used to begin a story in a technique borrowed from video. The camera first scans the street scene, with its bustling shoppers and jostling taxis, then moves to men in hoodies with the hoods pulled up and wearing dark glasses, then watches as they enter a store. One pulls a gun as the others smash cases. The camera hones in on the shopkeeper as he is hit, then onto his face as he lies writhing on the floor gasping for breath. The POV has moved from omniscient to that of the shopkeeper. This can effectively give a sense of time and place. Because of the distance and sense of oversight, it can be hard to present your characters in a way that the reader feels connected to them. A reader has to care!

Once in a while, second person POV is used in fiction, but it’s hard to sustain, both for the writer and the reader. This piece has a second person POV that I think would be very awkward in fiction.

Each POV has advantages and disadvantages. In first person, your reader has an opportunity to connect quickly and closely with the character. If it’s a good fit, it works. If it isn’t, chances are your reader will stop reading. Since all you can present is the one character’s POV—quirks, flaws, misconceptions, prejudices and all—it can be difficult to offer other character’s perspectives. Back story and setting can be a problem, since large blocks of your character either reminiscing or describing things can be tedious and not particularly believable.
Most common is the third person POV. You can switch back and forth among several characters if you’d like, although you do have to be careful to avoid “head hopping,” where you switch within one section. That can get confusing to the reader. Successful romances are often written in alternating sections, presenting first one partner’s POV, then the other’s POV.

Using third person POV, you can tell us what is happening and what that character feels, but you have to limit your observations to the perspective of the one character. It’s a nice compromise between the distance created by omniscience and the limitations of first person POV. It can range from so close to the character that you’re practically inside him or her to a more distant observing alongside the character.

Most fiction today is written in some form of third person POV, and readers are very accepting of it and tolerant of its limitations.

As a writer, you have to first decide whose story this is, and then what POV works for that character or characters.

What POV do you use, and why did you decide to use it?


E. B. Davis said...

It depends on the story, KM. I've used first person and third person. The story dictates which POV I use. In most of my work I've used third person because events happen outside of the main character's view. Having to show that necessitates writing through several character's POVs.

I once tried to use both (and I've read books that use both) but it isn't recommended. Against recommendation, I used that technique in a short story once--it worked well, but for a novel, I'm not sure I could do it.

In my current WIP, I wanted the reader to have a close up affinity to my main character so I chose first person.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

In my novels, the protagonist POV has been first person and any other POVs are third person.

For short stories I have used whichever I thought more effective for the story.

I have not and do not foresee using second person.

I have tended toward using a limited POV even when writing in third person so the reader only knows what that person knows - and has to rely on a perhaps unreliable POV character.

I have not written in third person omniscient because when I do I tend to insert a bit too much of "the author" into the writing. I know some writers do it well, but I am not yet one of them.

~ Jim

KM said...

EB, the first person does invite a very close affinity with the character. Works in which the author uses several POVs can be very interesting, and it can work quite well, but I haven't hit the right combination to do it.

But Jim has! I've read a few things in which the protagonist in 1st person and others in third create a tension and a very different "us vs. them" feeling.

Gloria Alden said...

KM, most of my writing is in third. I like the freedom it gives me to bring in other POVs. I used first POV in one short story, and it turned out very well and was published. I also used third person omniscient in the first short story I had published. It was in the first Guppy anthology. So like you say, the story and characters tell you what works best.

Warren Bull said...

If you have a protagonist who is hard to like, first person brings the reader closer to that character and readers find it easier to root for the character.

KM said...

Gloria, I've read some of your work and you do make very effective use of the 3rd person.

Warren, you're right that it 1st person can bring the reader closer to the character. That's a good reason to use it when your protagonist is a flawed character (although aren't they all?) who needs to resonate with the reader immediately.

Gloria Alden said...

The one time I used first person was when it was the murderer. The reader got into her brain and knew why she was doing what she did.