Using a new point-of-view|
This is my first book in first person. Iíd written in first person many times before, but only in short stories. Since my third person narrator tends to be quite close to the main character, I didnít find the transition from third to first to be alarming. It felt quite natural. The diary format, however, is trickier. It took many revisions for me to feel that Iíd used that form to the best effect.
I like to vary my storytelling, type of main character, and style somewhat between books, or I tend to get bored. (Though all my Bayern books and Princess Academy have similar third person narrators, Iíve never written two books with the same main character, and most likely never will.) Coming off of my third Bayern book, I felt a need to push myself somehow. For this story, first person diary felt like an obvious choice.
First, I was attracted to this tale because I wanted to tell the story of the maid. Sheís mentioned in ďMaid MaleenĒ but nothing is ever said about how she feels about all this, where she came from, where she goes. More than a broad, sweeping story, I just wanted to hear her voice, get inside her, experience her life. The purpose of a third person narrator is to take a step back from the main character, let the reader see and hear a little more than the main character might, have a little perspective. But with much of the story taking place in a dark tower, there was no where to step back. The setting made intimacy paramount. The story is Dashti. First person seemed the best way to tell it.
As well, using a diary felt natural. I wanted to be with Dashti every day, to experience her imprisonment with her in the moment, to hear her voice and feel what she feels. A diary allowed me to do that much better than to have her tell the story retrospectively. With a first person narration in past tense, the ending of the story affects how the character tells what happens in the beginning. But with this setting and story, it felt more urgent to grow up with her, live each day with her, with no foreknowledge, no expectations of what might come next.
First person diary is a tough format. I do have a book outlined for which I plan to use first person, but it wonít be diary. Itís not a form to be used lightly, I think. But for this book, Iím very happy I did. It was wonderful to get myself out of the way and let Dashti tell her own story, day by day.
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