Point of View

Thrillers are not my usual reading choice, but when my dad moved and left me with a shelf of Patricia Cornwell novels, I decided to give her a try. They are bloody, the bad guys horrid beyond belief, but the blood and horror didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I didn’t have nightmares, but was a little more spooked by someone suddenly knocking on the front door. (My friends and UPS use the back door.)

Working my way through these books, enjoying them very much, hasn’t done what I hoped it would: help with my descriptive abilities. I still have to remind myself to slow down and describe important aspects of setting or character. I plan to work on my last three scenes with description at the front of my writing mind. Yes, description can be overdone and dull but I don’t worry that will happen to me and if it does I will mercilessly cut it out.

One thing I really liked was the first person point of view of Kay Scarpetta. The novel I finished last night, Blowfly, used a bunch of POVs and I missed the singular Scarpetta. At the same time I could see why readers would like the quick change suspense as PC raced through short scenes, switching POV like a mad scientist whose test tubes are boiling over. The reader is always left wanting more, always turning pages.

Speaking of which, in the last few novels, there’s been a thru-line that effectively leaves one piece of the puzzle unresolved, compelling this reader to pick up the next novel asap. Even while I see this admirable manipulation, I miss my first person Kay. I understand that most fiction readers prefer third person. I know lots of people who cannot read first person at all. But I love to read it and write it. I often write in first person if I hit a block. Then I switch it back to third, where, for today at least, it belongs.

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