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There was a moment, on the coach, as the sun licked the sky light, when she wanted to weep for the precious loveliness of real manteau bobcat canada goose all.

On occasion I’ve heard people say they don’t like books written in the first person (often when praising a title in that narrative style that they’ve just read). I wonder why the resistance. Do they find real manteau bobcat canada goose uncomfortable to be so intimate with the character? Is it hard to suspend disbelief and be inside another person’s head whose world view, attitudes and experiences may be a long way from their own? Personally ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’ is one of the real manteau bobcat canada goose I love about reading. Although when I’m choosing a new book I don’t consciously think about what the point of view is. Other factors – the cover, the blurb, the first page of writing, people’s recommendations – are much more significant.

But when I’m writing, the first elements I need to pin down are character and point of view. Some stories I know instinctively* have to be a sole first person. I want that intensity and focus, there is no doubt about whose story it is and it’s not to be shared. My Sal Kilkenny series uses the first person POV as does The Kindest Thing, a book about a woman who is tried for murder after she helps her husband end his life. The novel I’ve just finished, Letters to my Daughter’s Killer, which explores the question of whether it is possible to forgive a murderer, is also a first person account. Other stories such as the Blue Murder and Scott and Bailey series and standalones like Split Second suit several third person points of view. As a writer I find it refreshing to switch from spending months in the almost claustrophobic world of ‘I’ to the variety and freedom of ‘he’ and ‘she’. And in my most recently published novel, Blink of an Eye, I’ve used two narrators, both written in the first person.

Does it matter to you?

*And sometimes I don’t. Credit must go to my novel writers’ group who on reading the opening chapters of The Kindest Thing all agreed the only viewpoint they were at all interested in was Deborah’s. And so it came to be.

This week I am guest blogging over on Womens Writers, Women’s Books. Come see me there.

The average woman spends £124 a month on clothes, shoes and accessories. The rest of us are just trying to find something halfway decent that fits.

**Originally commissioned by Cartwheel Arts

There are various techniques for building tension in a story: the use of foreboding, the ominous comments of hindsight, the race against time or the ticking clock set-up, the sudden reversal of fortune or the shock revelation that trips up the reader and changes what we understand of the narrative. Writing in the present tense can also contribute to the breathless, fast-paced feel of a thriller. With this technique there is neither foresight nor hindsight. We do not have the bigger picture, only the frame by frame, chapter by chapter account. Like the protagonist we are in the moment. It’s a very modern style, well, I assume it is (people who know about the history of literature please correct me if I’m wrong).

I’ve written novels in the present tense and others in the past. Sometimes I’ve found that changing to the present tense gives a better edge to a story. In my latest book, Blink of an Eye, one character’s narrative is written in the present and the other is in the past though it covers the same time-frame. As with most choices your first instinct is usually the correct one but if you’re unhappy with the flavour of the prose then tense is one element to consider. Write a chapter both ways and compare. Like POV the tense should suit the story and work for the characters.

In the lull between the tides of traffic she hears a woman screaming abuse. Imagines bruises, broken cups, a dying marriage, an ocean of bitterness drowning out the soft summer day.

*Originally published by (now archived)

Hopes tumbling like broken teeth as he began to speak.

*Originally published by (now archived)

Here’s another list of recent reads that I’ve enjoyed. Not all perfect but some come pretty close. Enjoy.

The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Waite

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

As Far As You Can Go by Lesley Glaister

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Norwegian by Night by Derek B Miller

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

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