Thursday, 25 November 2010

First versus Third part two

I tried rewriting the first part of the new book (needs a name) in first person, but to me it's missing something. You can judge for yourself beneath, both the starts are there. I think what it's missing is what some people call voice.

You see, the main character Jim was written in third person so he's never really had his own voice or way of talking. It's always been the storyteller telling his life and the mess he's made of his first hit and the subsequent dash for cash to repay the money he was advanced. Trying to suddenly rewrite it in his style doesn't feel right. I'm kind of drawn into using my stock first person style, but I know it's not right for him.

The other way it probably won't work is later on when someone else becomes involved heavily in the story. I suppose it could work in first person, but it would get messy and there is certain things the reader should know before Jim does.

Anyway, here's the start in third

Muscles Jim never knew he had continued to twist his stomach.

Looking again at the clock, it still showed half six. Thirty one minutes to go. He pushed the second button again, convinced for the third time it had stopped. He kept telling himself digital clocks don’t just stop. If they break, the display doesn’t work, it doesn’t just freeze. But, he had to check again.

He knew it shouldn’t be like this. He should be looking forward to the first day of his new job. It definitely shouldn’t have made him physically sick with fear. After all, it’s the chance to meet new people, the start of an adventure. Maybe that was the problem with contract killing; the only new people you met, you killed.

The clock that was definitely working showed thirty minutes until crunch time. Everything had been prepared and checked many times yesterday and last night. As he sat on the corner of the bed, Jim knew all he could do was wait. Waiting would give him plenty of time to think what he was about to do. What he was about to become.

and the start in first

They told me to expect this, but it doesn’t make it easier. Sat here in this murky hotel room, my brain’s cranky from last night. I got to sleep about three, maybe four. Sun starts rising early here, not that the day ever really ends in a city. The bustle’s all night. Busy, busy people. Busy important, or self important, people.

It’s half six now, thirty minutes till crunch time and my stomach’s twisting itself up in some sailor’s knot that my bowels are trying to undo. Suppose physical sickness’s just another part of the job. First day of a job shouldn’t be like that. Should be the start something new, the chance to meet new people, that’s what they say ain’t it? Guess that’s the problem with contract killing. Only new people you meet, you kill.

I’d got all my gear together last night, too. Should have left that for this morning. Could have been a job to eat up the time. As it is I got nothing to do now but wait. Wait for the clock to strike seven. Then, I go for a walk.

Anyway so that's it. It's going to be third person.

I've finished editing Too Big To Fail, though the start needs another look at. I'm also re-writing a short story I found hidden away from last year from third to first, which definitely does work.


Kym Hamer said...

I vote for third person!!!

Kate said...

Third person, yes, definitely.

"Maybe that was the problem with contract killing; the only new people you met, you killed." LOL!

Charlie Wade said...

Thanks Kym and Kate. Third person it is. Unfortunately though most of the jokes will have to go. Experience of submitting the last book told me Agents and publishers just don't like funny stuff from unknowns.

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