Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Monday, August 26, 2013

Irina Shapiro – Writing in First Person (or Third)

Finding Your Voice: Writing in First Person (or Third)

by Irina Shapiro

I or she – that is the question!  As a reader, I’ve read plenty of books that are told from the first person or the third person perspective, but it wasn’t until I started writing my own books that I was confronted with the question of how I wanted to present my story.  I’ve written both in the first person and in the third, and was surprised to find that some readers were put off by the first person narrative.  Now this was puzzling.  Why would anyone find that less preferable?

My honest answer is that I think it makes them feel like voyeurs.  When writing in the first person, I can express my feelings with more depth and insight, and create raw emotion in readers since there’s no barrier between the heroine of my story and her audience.  I can express desires and feelings that I might not be able to capture as profoundly if I were telling a story from someone else’s perspective.  It makes the reader feel as though they were reading someone’s diary when no one was looking, or peeking into someone’s window or a keyhole, curious to see events that they shouldn’t be privy to.   We all wish to be a fly on the wall at times, eager to know what’s really going on in someone’s mind or life, but how would we feel if we actually got the chance?  I think most of us would feel a little guilty, perhaps even ashamed of the thrill of watching or hearing the forbidden.

As a writer, that’s exactly how I want my readers to feel.  I want them to experience the raw emotions of love, loss, and desire, and feel that thrill tinged with shame when feeling as if they are right there in the room when the heroine is in the throws of passion or in a fit of despair.  The main point is that I want them to feel, and it’s easier to do that when the comfortable distance of a third person narrative is stripped away, and all that’s left is the voice of the character, whispering into their ear, taking them by the hand and leading them deeper and deeper into her world, and leaving them with a terrible sense of loss when her story is done.

The Hands of Time

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Genre - Time Travel Romance/Fantasy

Rating – R

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Website www.irinashapiro.com

Secrets and Lies by Natashiah Jansen & Ethan McKenzie


"I'm quickly going to go to the photo shop. I'll be back in a jiffy," Jason said to his new bride.

"Honey, with this traffic, it will take you half an hour to cross the road. We are not at home, you know," Sharona replied with a smile.

"Yes… I know. When in Costa Rica, do as the ticos do."

"You know, those potholes don't exactly slow them down, so be careful when you cross the road."

"Yes, Mom." Jason grinned and then left.

Sharona quickly dressed. She went to Casa del Café, a coffee shop in the Marriot Hotel they were staying at, which overlooked the main street. She hoped to catch Jason on his way back and have a cup of coffee with him. The streets were filled with locals, as well as tourists visiting San José. Here, like in most Latin countries, people had very little respect for traffic laws, but Jason knew that.

Sharona sipped on a cup of java when she noticed Jason on the other side of the street. She waved, trying to get his attention. He noticed her and waved back, smiling. He glanced to the left and then the right, and then took one step, looking at Sharona's smiling face.

Tires screeched, Sharona heard a loud thud and people started to scream. Sharona looked at the crowd that had gathered in the street. Her trembling hands covered her stifled scream as she got up from her chair. She ran out of the coffee shop, pushing and shoving patrons out of the way, and ran to reach the crowd. Jason lay in the street with blood pooling around his head, his eyes staring at the blue sky above.


"I'm sorry to do this, ma'am, but was your husband an organ donor?" the nurse asked.

"Yes," Sharona answered, handing her Jason's ID card.

She sat alone in the steely white waiting room smelling of disinfectant. This was not how she had imagined her honeymoon would end. They'd been in love for so long; she had never imagined that it would end this way.

The nurse came running back to her with a stack of forms she had to sign. At the top of each form, "Hospital La Catolica" was written in bold red letters. She signed every single one of the pages without reading them. The nurse gently stroked her shoulder.

"We have contacted the next of kin, Mr. Edward Black. He will take the first available flight to San José."

It suddenly hit Sharona that they hadn't even had the opportunity to change any of their personal details. All of Jason's documents still listed his father as his next of kin. She let out a silent cry, covering her face with her hands. The nurse sat next to her and gently rubbed her back, trying to console her.


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Genre – Medical Suspense Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Ethan McKenzie on Facebook & Twitter