I’ve been writing Taming The Shrewd for the last two weeks, I kid you not, and I’m only a measly 4k words in. Truthfully, I should at least be close to 40k words by now.
I feel something’s off about my writing these days. First of all, I’m not burned out at all. I want to hurry and finish the books in the Hester series so that I can get to my next big project in the LOVE in the USA series. Ooh, I can’t wait to share it with you. But I also want to hurry up and saturate myself completely into the Hester world. It’s like a chore right now and I believe I know what’s hindering me.
I think it has to do with the POV I’ve chosen. As you know the bulk of my books are written in the first-person present-tense, that’s in the “I’m or I am” voice and not the “I was,” “she is,” or “she was” voices. I LOVE writing in the first person present tense. It puts me in the character’s shoes but there are vast amounts of readers who won’t venture into the first person and certainly not the first person present-tense. And let me tell you, not everyone can pull it off without creating a Mary Sue character. A Mary Sue character is when it’s clear the writer is living vicariously through the main character and she/or he is no longer a creation beyond the writer. So my decision to start writing in the third person was a business one. After all, I’m an author, this is my job, my career and I want to make a good living from it.
However, I feel when I write in the first-person, it takes the story to higher emotional and situational heights. I loved the work I did in The Sterling’s Series and the first two books of LOVE in the USA, The Hesters but I want to SLAY the rest–like, slay them. And I also write faster in the first person because I’m more in the main character’s body. If you’re accustomed to my earlier work, then you know that if I write a chapter in the voice of a supporting character, I did so in third-person past tense, which is what I’m using now for all POV’s. And I used to be one of those readers who hated reading in the first person as well. Right now I’m reading the Patrick Melrose novels, Never Mind, book 1. It’s written in the third-person past-tense, but it takes the freedom to do what my editor calls, head hopping. That means within one scene we can get the third person account from more than one character’s point of view. In literary terms it’s called third-person omniscient, it’s like a thing but for some reason she didn’t get it. Sigh… I remember when I gave my editor Misty Black, she rejected it for that reason. She’s good at what she does, but in the future, if I want to head-hop again, I’ll point her to these FANTASTICALLY written Patrick Melrose novels.
I started first-person present-tense years ago when I wrote Parched. I wrote two beginnings–one in first and the other in third. My mom is a romance novel power reader, so I brought her both drafts and asked her which one drew her in. She enthusiastically chose first-person.
Humph… I just had a thought!
I think I know what I have to do. I have to go back to what works for my works. It’s all about the story, and in the end, that’s what will truly increase my bottom line. I want to write stories that move readers to higher heights and to do that I have to stick to what makes me a better writer.
Issue resolved, I hope. You’ll see in my next book. However, this one will start in the third person past tense because it begins with Zachary Benjamin’s POV, at least for now. I might change it, flip chapter one and two. I’ll see.
And now back to the drawing board. Thanks for reading my brain fart! 🙂
UPDATE: 2:32 PM on the same day, 6-13-2018
I think I discovered my issue. I had been trying to force backstory into the present, forgetting that backstory is something for me to know and to use wisely. So much information in one scene made for a slow-moving and boring story. I’m speeding it up now and sticking with the third person POV.