Well, it’s time to prod Fran into creating my 2nd mystery. She already has it framed out in her mind. (For those who are reading this blog for the first time, the first mystery of the Rose Jackson Mystery Series was Fake Pastor by Fran Touchette, and I am that Fake Pastor, Rose Jackson.) The question is will she let me write the 2nd mystery. I mean which would you rather see? “She knew that the truth had to come out, but how could she face the fallout?” OR “I knew that the lies had to stop. I had been living with them for months. Some days I thought the relief of telling the truth would take such a load off that I would literally float up into the clouds, but then there was the other side of telling the truth. Gramma always said even completely innocent good things like telling the truth had a flip side. The ridicule, the disdain, the hatefulness that would result from my telling the truth would not fall just on me, that I could take. That I probably deserved, but it would fall square onto Jasmine and Jamie as well.” See how much better it sounds in the first person?
As far as I can see, Fran wants to write in the third person because she thinks she will have more control over how the story goes, but as I have tried to tell her many times, I am really the one controlling things whether she writes in the first or the third person. I have come up with three solid reasons why writing in the first person is better. First, no one knows how someone else feels better than that person herself. Who better than the lead character to describe her emotions, her doubts, her joys? How will she describe the other characters? Fran always replies to this. Well, I can do that like this: “I knew that look on Jasmine’s face. She was not just upset, she was scared. I could just hear the questions forming in her mind.” I mean who is closer to Jasmine than her mother?
Then, there is the fact that with a first person narrative the readers get drawn deeper into the life of the main character and identify with her. More apt to buy the sequel, I tell Fran. (Although she tries to believe she writes them for lots of reasons other than money, I know better. The money motive is right up there at the top along with her love of writing.) You know, as a reader, it’s important to identify with the characters, at least the main character, and when the lead character speaks in the first person, you get to know her up close and personal. But, you only see the other characters through the main characters eyes, Fran says. What if a guy is reading and he wants to identify with Lonnie? (Deputy Sheriff of Marion County, Arkansas, in case you haven’t read Fake Pastor yet, which you really should.) So, I tell her, who better to describe Lonnie, than me? “When Jasmine opened the door Lonnie had gotten up and was standing right behind her. Standing on the front porch was Sheriff Roy, but he wasn’t the one who caught Lonnie’s eye. It is was the FBI duo who caught his eye. Something told him they weren’t stopping by for a cup of coffee. Something was wrong. That 6th sense of his kicked in and put him on alert. The dimples were gone, and he had that ok give it to me straight look on his face. “I’ll handle this Jasmine,” he said.” See, Rose can say all that just the same as someone could writing in the 3rd person.
Finally, a first person narrator can go where ever she needs to because it is after all her story that is being told. She can tell what happens somewhere else either through someone else or a summary of what someone told her like this. Jamie ran through the living room, down the hall, and into his bedroom. I would have followed right behind, but Jasmine stopped me. “Wait Mom,” she said. “Let me tell you what happened.” As I listened to my daughter explain their bus ride home, I wanted to run to him more than ever, but Jasmine seemed to think he needed some time alone. “Time alone? He is only 9 years old,” I told her. “Think about it Mom. He’s gone through a lot. He needs time to get himself together.” I sat back down and thought about what Jasmine had told me. It had started on the bus on their way to school, continued all day, and gotten even worse on the way home…” Well, you get the idea without my writing the whole story on this blog. But, Fran thinks it is better if the writer can write about Jamie and Jasmine’s day as it happens. Ok, maybe kind of has a point there. But, I still think I should write this book. Ok, if you prefer, Fran should write it in the first person, but I am Rose. Read my first blog for more clarity on that issue. “Am I a Figment? I Think Not!” is it’s title.
What do you think? First person or third? Which kind of book do you prefer to read?