Many Perspective, First Person – How I do it, and Mistakes I’ve Made.

Image by Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay

I pretty much started out with first person when writing via Red Viper. The book started out on Wattpad, its first iteration, anyway. I admit, nowadays I do regret not writing it in third person, but perspective hopping is a lot of fun and has worked out for the series pretty well. Plus, it’s going to make for an awesome audiobook with different voices. There are ups and downs to perspective hopping in first person that I’ve learned, and I’ve run into quite a few hiccups along the way.

For one thing, the second series (The Cobratongue Saga) used to be completely different books with eight perspectives, which turned out to be too much. I ended up splitting books 1 & 2 into 4 perspectives each, which tell different parts of the story. As of now, one of those pieces still isn’t out yet, but I plan on working on it soon as a version 2.

Speaking of versions, in the first books of The Kingdoms of Blood, or both Red Viper and The Dancing Crow, the main characters are different and once again tell different stories (though same events in some cases, parallel scenes, and the like) based on the character. You learn different backstories depending on who’s book you read, which is a lot of fun. One book’s experience is entirely different from the other even if some of the same things happen.

That said, here’s some short tidbits of advice to stomach on this matter:

  1. Don’t add in too many perspectives!
  2. Make each character distinct enough that the reader will enjoy reading their story too.
  3. Don’t make one character’s story similar to another/don’t have too many scenes that parallel if you are doing multiple books.
  4. Properly indicate when there is a perspective swap. (This one is debated heavily in the writing community. I am a STRONG supporter of markers while some are not. “The character should stand alone and people should know” is a nonsense argument and I’m not sorry for saying that.)
  5. Ask yourself why you’re exploring the story this way as opposed to third person. Will you regret it later?

First person perspective head-hopping can provide a really neat new experience if that’s how you’d like to tell your story. Sure, it’s not conventional, and anyone will say that. Agents may turn their nose up at the idea. Personally, I’ve read books that utilize this strategy really well and have enjoyed them. It’s all about the readers’ taste and who you’d like to appeal to. I love getting into characters’ heads.

As for my plans, well. I think I will stick to third person for my other series. That could change in the future, but it’s now my comfort zone. I could return to first person someday, especially if people start really liking my books!

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