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Old September 22 2013, 09:52 PM   #43
Allyn Gibson
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Re: First-person narratives

JD wrote: View Post
I've been reading a lot of Urban Fantasy lately, and most of them are in first person, and I've been really liking it.
I don't normally read a lot under the Urban Fantasy umbrella, but a few years ago I did read one. There was a book I saw on the shelf, I thought the back cover blurb sounded interesting (and some of the premise hit on some interests of mine), so I picked it up.

First person present tense.

I didn't like that, but I accepted it as a valid creative choice the novelist had made.

And then the first sex scene happened.

And my brain went, "What. The. Fuck."

It was an Urban Fantasy, so obviously the protagonist is a twentysomething female. I asked myself, "Who is she telling this story to? Why would she go into this much detail about this and that and this with that person?" Because, here's the thing. The character was, upfront, a con artist who kept things about herself private for Mysterious Reasons(TM), so who could she possibly be telling this story to, in this much detail, including the sex scenes?

Yes, there were more than one.

And this wasn't a first novel. This was a seventh or eighth novel from the novelist. From a major New York publisher. I couldn't imagine how the editor didn't say, "Your POV choices are sabotaging your story." There was a good story underneath, but first person was the wrong way to tell it in this particular case.
"When David Marcus cited the great thinkers of history -- "Newton, Einstein, Surak" -- Newt Gingrich did not make his list." -- 24 January 2012
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