Whose Story Is It?

There's been quite a lot of discussion on my Crimespace profile to the question I posed here about why the murder mystery genre is still so popular, and it has been an interesting debate. Another very interesting debate from Crimespace, a social networking site for those who write crime and love reading crime and thriller fiction, is that of Point of View.

Some readers apparently avoid any book which is written in the first person, which is a shame because I think they might be missing out on a good story, and some prefer third person multiple viewpoints enabling them to get into the mindset of many of the characters in a novel.

Personally, I don't mind whether I read a book that is written in the first person or third person, single view point or multiple viewpoint just as long as it is a riveting read. If a novel is written in multiple viewpoint however. i.e. the story is told from many of the character's perspective then I do prefer it to be just two or three characters at the most. I get irritated if a story jumps between too many characters (and too often) because I find it difficult to identify with the main character's dilemma.

Using the first person point of view is great for thrillers because it makes them faster and yes, more thrilling. It is why I chose to write In Cold Daylight and In For The Kill in the first person. It suited the story much better.
My marine mystery crime novels, however, are written in the third person single viewpoint i.e. the stories are told from DI Andy Horton's perspective. This again makes them a much faster, more exciting read and readers can identify with Horton's problems. One day though I might introduce Sergeant Cantelli's viewpoint but that would probably be my limit.

Every writer and reader has different tastes and dare I say it 'viewpoint' and that's as it should be. The writer needs to ask him or herself a couple of questions before writing the novel, (or sometimes as they are writing it): whose story is it and what kind of pace and atmosphere do I wish to create? For other genres maybe multiple viewpoints are best or even a switch in the same novel from first person to third, but for me, for the time being at least, I'll stick to first person and third person single viewpoints.


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