So I’m super busy this week and don’t have much time to write or visit until later, but I wanted to ask you all for a little advice. When you’re starting on a new project, a new book, how do you choose the point of view? What’s your process? I know a lot of you write YA and so first person is the preferable choice. I feel the same way and greatly enjoy those adult thrillers written in the first person. That’s why I wrote my first novel in first person. But now that I’m starting out on my second book, the choice isn’t nearly as clear.
My first book was primarily about two people, so I chose to write in their voices. This time around, however, it’s proving a little more difficult. I really want to write about the whole family involved in this story, not just because I need all their POVs to tell the story, but rather because they each play a distinct role in how the story plays out, yet they are each unaware of the other’s role. So they’ll each be holding onto their own pieces of the puzzle and will play each one according to who does what before them.
So my question is this, because this story is such an emotional one, I wanted to tell it in first person, but I worry about having four voices and hopping back and forth between them. Not that I haven’t seen this done, because I have, but I worry that it will be difficult for me as a still-unpublished-author to get this story publish.
Since the story starts out with one of the four main characters—the antagonist— having a mental and emotional breakdown and being hospitalized, I thought of just having the story unfold during therapy, but not just for him—for all of his family, since his problem is related to the family dynamic. This can be supplemented through journaling, as well, and all the details are revealed to the therapist treating her patient and his family as a whole. But once the main conflict is revealed, the action will be in real-time, so to speak. Not in flashbacks, memories, or recollections.
Or I can use the old standby and write in the third person from all four POVs. But then again, I worry about all that head-hopping. And since the conflict originates years in the past, I don’t want to tell the story in a purely linear fashion, but rather slightly out of sequence so the details can build until the story reaches the present day and the reader learns how the sins of the past have affected those living in the present.
So I know most of you don’t write or perhaps even read adult thrillers, but I’d be interested in what you think. How would you tackle it? What is your process for choosing POV and revealing a series of events over a very long period of time while trying to keep everything in the moment? Have you ever had to tackle a story like this?