My blog is called THE MYSTERY BOOKSHELF at and I've found that most of the books that I recommend are in the first-person. I don't know why, but I feel that the third-person is more clunky. With first-person narratives, I’m part of the story more.

Because of this, I also have to admit that I tend to read books written by male authors than female authors. For some reason, female writers seem to use the third person more. It has nothing to do with sexism. I’ve read Minette Walters, Deborah Crombie, Julie Spencer-Fleming, Laura Lippman, Charles Todd, Elizabeth George, and a host of others. However, only a few female authors seem comfortable with the first person, and these tend to be my favorites: S.J. Rozan, Kris Nelscott, and Laurie R. King.

Do you have a preferences for the first-person or third-person?

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Good for you!
I will read both, depending on whether or not I am involved in the story the author has presented. At one time I would read anything, good or bad, just to explore the technique or lack thereof demonstrated in the book. Those days are gone due to time constraints that occurred when I quit being just a reader and decided to join the writing community.

As a writer I currently have two first person projects underway. They are both character driven stories and I wanted to show the story through their eyes, but it is much more difficult for me to flesh out the plot line, since the main character is limited to where he can be at any one time, so if action is occurring at two places at once, then the protagonist must learn of it through some device that keeps the story running. It is a dilemma for the writer that I think we all suffer at one time or the other.

As far as my world view goes, I see no problem infusing my world view into work I write. I actually believe it is part of the authors responsibility to inject a viewpoint into his work as long as it doesn't beat the reader to death or sound too much like preaching to the choir. We have an opportunity to change minds, create viewpoints and still entertain our readers, so why not do it.
As far as your own story is concerned, just alternate chapters. If the action needs to go somewhere away from your first person character, then just put it in a new chapter from whoever's perspective it needs to be in, whether that perspective is narrated in first or third.

Another idea is to go with third person; you can get into the character's head and see things through his eyes in third person as well. Take a sample of your story and change it to third person and you'll see the differences are subtle.

Regardless, there are always options. Point of View is thought of in the most simplistic terms (basically boiling it down to whether it's "I said" or "she said", when actually point of view is a much deeper issue, dealing with the closeness, or how far you've zoomed into the character. In that respect Point of view shifts are common, so common that it's rare to find a story that does stick to just one point of view.)
This business of the author's responsibility is an interesting one that I frequently struggle with. It seems to me that there are two extremes that ought to be avoided: the author who uses the book to preach a particular moral theme, and the author who celebrates amoral values by making violence acceptable and refuses to be judgmental about such acts.
Mostly, mysteries tend to show that violence and cruelty exist, but that justice ultimately prevails or is at least seen as the goal and that the good man wins at least a moral victory. That, I think, is among an author's responsibilities.
I disagree that anything is an author's responsibility. Certainly your view is a valid one for an author to take, but then all views are equally valid. In life, justice doesn't always prevail; in fact it frequently doesn't. To only describe scenarios in which justice prevails, then is to leave out an essential facet of life, and then one can hardly say that such work is representative of reality. A world in which justice always wins out is a world of fantasy.

Then again, since an author has no responsibility, taking the view I suggest and describing both aspects of life is not required. It just happens to be my preference.
I agree. I grew up in an era of fictional hero's that fought for justice and a code of moral behavior. It left a positive impression on me. I would like to return the favor. If I can at least leave the impression that with work, sacrifice and diligence, GOOD at least has a chance to win over EVIL then perhaps someone, somewhere, will be able to benefit.
Where is The Shadow when you really need him?
Very true. There's at least some reassurance in this that the world hasn't regressed totally into anarchy and that some people might still believe in ethical behavior.

And John, I don't disagree with you -- which is why I put an "or" after justice always prevailing. The novel needs to remain believable and realistic and I tend to be pretty cynical myself.

A very interesting item and discussion. I write in both the third person, (single viewpoint) for my Detective Inspector Horton crime novels and in the first person for my thrillers. I also always write from the male point of view and often get asked why I do so. I can't really say except that it was only when I started writing from the male point of view that I found my style! I have both male and female readers, which I find most rewarding. I enjoy writing (and reading) thrillers in the first person because it makes the novel faster and more 'thrilling'. When I first wrote In Cold Daylight ( a thriller) I wrote it in the third person and it wasn't until the revisions stage that I realised it just wasn't working, so I changed it to first person and it worked much better. Maybe readers thought so too because it was shortlisted for the World Book Day Prize and was voted by readers into the Top Ten Best Reads! I think it comes back to deciding, as a writer, whose story it really is, and what will be more entertaining for the reader.
Fascinating. And Congrats!
I also write third person POV for a male protagonist for much the same reasons (plus some historical ones). The only thriller I wrote (still on offer), is also third person (two protagonists, one male -- one female), and now I wonder what it would have been like in first. You may be absolutely right about it being "faster" in first.
If and when you had time and felt so inclined you could have a go at changing the thriller (or part of it) to first person to see if it works better. Not an easy task I know, but I found it an incredibly good writing exercise. Still, you might yet get an offer for it. Good luck.
Thanks. And absolutely! If it doesn't sell, I will do this. It's not a worry; it's a challenge. I once rewrote some 500 pages from present tense to past (on my agent's suggestion). That, too was an interesting exercise, though the mood of the book changed and I'm not sure it was for the better -- still, no doubt, it made it more marketable. Readers like what they are familiar with.
Hi, It was interesting that this conversation came up this afternoon when I was giving a talk to a local Reading Circle. They were lovely. I am just about to put something on my blog and add photos. We talked about POV. Many of the readers found it irritating when a writer skipped between too many viewpoints but didn't really mind whether it was first or third person as long as the story was a good one.


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