Has this ever happened? I'm talking a published series that starts out in, say, first person, then switches to third person for the same set of characters.

Don't ask me why I'm asking. It's too horrible to explain.

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I think Lee Child has done it. James Lee Burke and John Connolly both went from writing their series exclusively first person to splitting each book between first and third.

Sometimes you worry too much.

Sometimes you worry too much.

You don't know the half of it, Dana...

What I'm talking about isn't changing persons within a single book, but changing to third person completely on the second book. I wrote first book completely in first person. I like writing in first person, and it worked well for the story in first book, but it's become too limiting for the story in the second book.

I just wondered if anybody had started a series in first person, then switched completely to third person (with the same set of characters). I just can't imagine anybody (readers / publishers / editors) liking it.

Pick up a handful of Lee Child books at your local library and read a paragraph. He may change from book to book; I'm not sure.

To me, each story has a best way to be told; POV is a key element. I understand readers (and editors) may have issues with changing from one to the other, but if the change makes a better book...

I have seen books where 1st p. chapters were inserted in between the 3rd p. narrative.  Sometimes the 1st p. was a victim or the killer.

If there is a major switch of the type you describe, you should have a reason.  For example, the first p. account is a journal found after the events, or vice versa, the protagonist reads a 3rd p. account and investigates it.  I'm sure there must be other scenarios that would explain the switch.

Well, I'm not planning on doing it within a single book, but I've discovered, working on my second book, that the story almost demands to be written in third person. I wrote the first book in first person, with the intention of continuing the characters in a series, and switching to third person for the second book just seems... strange. The horror that kept me awake last night was the possibility of having to go back and change the first book to third person -- that story really only works in first person.

As usual, you have all put my fevered mind to rest.

Oh, I see.  I misunderstood.  I think you can do this, but if you're looking for a publisher with the first book (I think you are), then you may encounter resistance there.  Editors have plenty of prejudices already.  It may be too much to expect one to buy book 1 of a series without having the same formula continue in biiok 2.  The short answer is that I don't know what to tell you.  It's a tricky problem.

I'll wait to see what others have to say.

Split the difference. Go with second person the whole time. (kidding, kidding...unless it's a Choose Your Own Adventure book)

Hey, don't think I haven't thought of promising the third book in second person as a selling point. "Switching POVs: it's a thing I do."

I'm doing this with my WIP. The 1st person is the main character, third person is everyone else. The chapters are exclusive to one or the other.

I may switch this if it becomes a train wreck, but I like the flow of it.

I almost never write in 1st person. I don't hate it but I really prefer 3rd. So I don't think this'll ever be too much of an issue for me.

Stephen Dobyns wrote a great series set around the thoroughbred track in Saratoga Springs--really smart, fun books.  Most of them were in third person, but at least one was in first person, told in the POV of the sidekick.  It was weird, in a way, but Dobyns is a terrific writer and he made it work.  That series is one of my all-time favorites.  Dobyns is also a brilliant poet--in a way his career is what gave me permission to write genre.

Michael Connelly changed from third to first person with Harry Bosch in his 2003 novel, Lost Light, after Bosch left the LAPD and became a private investigator. He continued using first person in The Narrows in 2004 when Bosch returned to the LAPD. However, in The Closers, released in 2005, Connelly was once again writing in the third person.  


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