Last night, the scene I was working on felt distant, which normally wouldn’t worry me because this is a first draft and I can go back and tweak things later. But I started to think that maybe this story should be told from the heroine’s POV and as first-person. So I started drafting a scene in first person.
Two thousand words later and I’m still not sure this is going to work.
When reading, I tend to favor third-person and so this is also the style I’ve used in everything I’ve written so far. But several of my favorite books from last year were in first-person and I loved the hell out of those books.
An audio book that I started to listen to last year tried to have it both ways – chapters in the heroine’s POV were in first person, but chapters in anyone else’s POV were in third-person. This had the effect of making me wonder if I’d hit a button on my iPod and had accidentally switched to a different book. I’m sure this was not the author’s intent. I listened to about five chapters, but was so distracted by the switch between first- and third-person that I couldn’t finish the book.
I like being able to read a story from a couple different points of view, learning the motivation from the characters’ thoughts in addition to their actions. But hearing someone tell a story as they perceive it, trying to figure out another character’s agenda through the prism of a first-person character is also fascinating.
How do you know how to tell a story? As a writer, do you choose a certain style? Does it depend on the type of story you’re telling? Do you ever doubt your decision?