Just poking my head in during a quick break from writing. I'm so excited about my new book and how it's coming together. I'm surprised (astounded might be a better word!) to find myself doing two things I swore I never would--writing in first person and using present tense. I've always been partial, as a reader and a writer, to close third person as a narrative perspective. That's how I wrote Measure of Silence and I began writing this second book that way, too. But after a few thousand excruciatingly slow words, I found it just wasn't working. I fought making a switch out of principle, but since I have, words are flying off my fingers and the main character is showing me just how different she is from the protagonist of my first book. Writers are always called to challenge themselves, so I figure doing something out of the ordinary (for me, at least) can only help me grow. It doesn't hurt that first-person narratives are the popular ones these days in the genre (the novels of Michelle Moran, Catherine Delors, C. W. Gortner, and Lawrence Hill are all written in first-person).
As for my use of the present tense, which I've always viewed as an empty stylistic flourish--all I can say is this story insists on it, at least at this point. Whether I leave it in present or not, it's too early to tell.
I haven't abandoned third person all together. The way I envision it, sections from the main character's perspective will be in the first person, alternating with chapters from the secondary character's viewpoint in close third. I was wondering whether this sort of structure would fly when I began reading Vanora Bennett's Portrait of an Unknown Woman. Guess what? Bennett does exactly what I was considering. The chapters of her book told from Meg Grigg's point of view are in first, those from Hans Holbein's in third. I'll be in good company, it seems.
Do you, as readers of historical fiction, have preferences in regard to the use of first or third person? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Meanwhile, back to writing...