Monday, July 28, 2014

Guest Post: Finding Your Voice: Writing in First Person or Third by Melissa Delport, author of The Legacy

The Legacy - MELISSA DELPORT
One man obsessed with power.

One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him.

One war that changed the world.

“World War Three lasted twelve days. Twelve days was all it took for mankind to devastate the planet and almost eradicate the human race. No victor emerged from the ashes and billions lost their lives.

We survivors lived through the bleakest of winters. A primal existence became the new order, and the little that remained of our humanity hung in the balance.

Then one man stood up and changed the world. I believed, as did everyone else, that he was the hero of our time, the man who had saved us from our own demise. His name is Eric Dane and he is the President of the New United States of America. 

He is also my husband, and my greatest enemy.

I grew up oblivious to the truth, until my father found me when I was nineteen years old. He told me about the many horrifying facts that our new leader kept hidden from us. And he told me that beyond the borders the Resistance grew and fought for freedom from the oppression that Eric Dane had imposed on us.

My name is Rebecca Davis. I am twenty-six years old, and in me the Resistance has found the ultimate weapon.”

A narrative of good and evil, love and passion, right and wrong – and at the centre of the story a strong woman who is prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause she believes in.

The Legacy is an action-packed, adrenalin-inducing thrill ride which will leave you riveted long after you have turned the last page.


TITLE: The Legacy
SERIES: Book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy
AUTHOR: Melissa Delport
PRINT ISBN: 978-0-620-59636-7
eISBN: 978-0-620-59637-4
PAGES: 366 pages
WORD COUNT: 99 160
GENRE: Speculative Fiction
MARKET: Adults (with crossover to the 16+ reader)
PUBLISHER: Tracey McDonald Publishers


Finding Your Voice: Writing in the First Person (or Third)

                                           
By Melissa Delport, author of The Legacy

There are many obstacles to overcome when writing your first book, few of which you actually realise until you put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, as we do now. As authors, we stumble, we fall, we brush ourselves off and we get back up again, because as any writer will know, we cannot silence the voice inside. Our stories need to be written.

When I first embarked on my writing journey I gave a lot of thought to plot and character description, to the book title and pivotal scenes that would unfold as my book progressed. Dialogue and time frame, chapter length and word count, all of these things were well-thought out and seriously deliberated. This took me at least forty minutes. Then I sat down and started typing. Strangely enough, not once did I consider which narrative mode I should use. It never even occurred to me, and yet the story unravelled in the first person. This style came naturally to me, and rather than work against it, I used it to my advantage.

The main benefit in using this style of writing is that the reader feels an emotional attachment to the narrator, which in my case, is the protagonist. The internal thoughts, emotions and perceptions of the protagonist are able to be conveyed to the reader and this makes for fantastic character development.  

I have often wondered if I am perhaps doing my secondary characters a dis-service in writing from the first-person point of view, as one of the drawbacks of this particular writing style is that it does not always allow the reader to connect with the other characters’ thoughts and feelings. It can also limit plot, as we become aware of events primarily through the narrator’s eyes. Loosely put, if it doesn’t happen to, or around your protagonist, it doesn’t happen. The third-person narrative is far more flexible and consequently, the most frequently used model.  

There are ways to get around these pitfalls of first-person narration. The narrator may refer to information they have heard from other characters in order to deliver a broader point of view. Memories of the past are also useful in providing insight that is reliable. I make use of secondary-character dialogue to ensure that the reader is always informed as to what is going on “behind the scenes” so to speak.  A popular trend at the moment is the alternating point of view, whereby there is more than one narrator. Personally, I find that this style can become confusing and the character transitions need to be handled carefully so that the reader doesn’t become frustrated.

For me, I prefer to stick with what comes naturally. I like to invoke a connection between reader and protagonist, which I feel is best done when the reader can understand and identify with the main character and “live” that character during the course of reading the book. It is more emotive and if done properly, the first-person narrative can present a powerful “voice”.

Like any true writer, I like to challenge myself, and one of my personal writing goals is to try and complete a novel in a different narrative mode – which would obviously be the third-person narrative, given that the second should really be reserved only for song writing and “Choose your own Adventure Stories”.

Finding your voice is an exciting step in your writing journey, but I don’t think it is a conscious choice. It will come as easily as breathing, and if you listen to it rather than fight it, the end result will be all the better for it.