First-person or third-person?

I’ve read numerous tweets and blog posts lately about the trend of perspective within fantasy and sci-fi. Apparently, third-person perspective has fallen out of favor. Editors think its boring and so last year. But what if your story involves many different characters and it’s confusing to jump back and forth into their heads like a squirrel with ADHD?

For an experiment, I took the opening scene from my book, Ohlen’s Arrow, and rewrote it from the first-person perspective of the main character. Read the original third-person version here:

Thwip.

The arrow sank deep into the creature’s throat and it fell backward in a spray of blood, twitching and clawing at the wooden shaft protruding from its severed windpipe. The man lowered his bow and crouched down into the bushes in case there were others. He remained still but watched and listened intently to see if he had stumbled upon a lone cru’gan or if it had been part of a patrol. At first the only sound was the wet gurgling coming from the cru’gan’s throat. Now it lay still and silent and the only thing the man could hear was the evening breeze through the pine trees.

After several minutes passed he retrieved his arrow and quickly searched the body, then rolled it under a pile of briars out of sight. He kicked the creature’s blood into the dust and pine needles to hide the evidence of the encounter, then moved silently away into the forest amidst the diminishing evening light.

Now, here’s a first-person version I wrote:

Thwip.

My arrow sank deep into the cru’gan’s throat and it fell backward in a spray of blood. It’s filthy hands frantically clawed at the wooden shaft protruding from its severed windpipe. I lowered my bow and crouched down into the bushes in case there were others. I held still while I watched and listened intently to see if it was alone or if I had stumbled upon a larger a patrol. For several seconds the only sound I heard was the wet gurgling coming from its throat. Now it lay still and silent and the only thing I could hear was the evening breeze through the pine trees.

I waited several minutes, then retrieved my arrow and quickly searched the body before rolling it under a pile of briars out of sight. I kicked its blood into the dust and pine needles to hide the evidence of the encounter, then moved silently away into the forest under cover of the diminishing evening light.

Which do you prefer?

The editing phase of a story’s lifecycle

In the life-cycle of Ohlen’s Arrow, I’m in the editing phase. I’ve hired an editor and we’ve been going through revisions one chapter at a time. I gave her the story as Word files, one per chapter. She then returns those Word files with track-changes turned on. I open up the Word file and place it next to my Scrivener screen. I review each suggested edit and make the changes in Scrivener as I go along.

At this point very few of the edits involve plot items, although I did rework a conversation my lead character has with two friends at the beginning of the story. This helps establish some key plot elements that didn’t quite fit later on in the story.

The bulk of this round of editing has been spent on sentence structure, grammar, and word choices. It’s like a musician being told how to hold their instrument. What I love about this phase of the “I’m writing a novel” process is it makes the finished product better. It also makes me a better writer.