Friday, February 24, 2006

first person

I'm intrigued by person in voice - ever since a work-experience person (who's gone on to a mid-list career as a children's author with another publisher) authoritatively informed me that first person just couldn't be sustained in a novel and that it was dull to read. I've always liked the first person, so I was disconcerted with earnestness this fiat was delivered with. Most of the books we've published are third person but I've really liked the way Michael Wagner uses first person in Dog Wars. I'm reading it to Miles (aged 6) and he's loving it - a first person flea. Phil Kettle claims that first person is the way to a seven year old boy's heart - put him at the centre of the story.

So Susan Johnson's comments about the "person" in her first novel intrigued me. To quote here "I clung to third-person because it felt safe … because I hoped for a more magisterial, authorial distance… Finally I relented though, accepting that first person was the only way the story could be told. After that I was away. She goes on to say, "Once a character's voice has been discovered … everything else follows."

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