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Absolutes

Absolutes

Lately, I’ve been smacked in the face by absolutes.

“I’ll never do this.”

“Try this [piece of advice], it works for everyone.”

“Don’t ever plan to do [X], you’ll never make it.”

Now, for some things, absolutes are helpful.

“Don’t ever leave your spaceship without a spacesuit.”

“Never give your credit card number to a Nigerian prince.”

“Stabbing yourself in the eye with a red hot poker always hurts.”

But here are a few that I can’t hold with.

“I won’t ever read first person.”

“I won’t ever write third person.”

“I won’t ever outline.”

“I won’t read a book with a male protagonist.”

“I hate historical fiction.”

I admit, the whole first person thing? That used to be me. Or, at least, I didn’t enjoy reading first person. I really didn’t enjoy reading first person present tense. But then something strange happened. Well, strange to me. I had to read a first person book for an assigned review. In other words, I didn’t have a choice. If I wanted to keep my review job (or my review-unpaid-volunteer position), I had to read what was, to me, something I thought would be totally uninteresting.

I loved it. LOVED IT. I couldn’t put that book down. It grabbed me, yanked me inside its pages and wouldn’t let me go. That book stuck with me for years.

Ever since then, I don’t say never where it comes to books. First person, third, past, present…I’ll read anything. Or at least, I’ll try. I still don’t enjoy a lot of historical romance, but if the blurb sounds interesting enough, I’ll make an exception for that as well. I’ve read some stunning ones over the past few years. And while I’ve enjoyed many first person books in the past few years, I still prefer to read third person, as a general rule.

Life is too short to cut yourself off from an experience just because a book meets one specific criterion you long ago decided you’d never like. Now, I’m not saying you have to finish a book you don’t like. Because again, life is too short to read books that you don’t enjoy. But try them. Read a sample. Particularly if your favorite author happens to switch from first person to third, or vice versa. Don’t read the first sentence, see first person, and immediately walk away.

Why does this matter? Well, selfishly, I want you to be open to new experiences, because I’m about to try something new. In a little over a week, I’m going to release a book as part of a boxed set with two other authors. That short story, which takes place in the In His Silks world, is first person present tense.

Upon the advice of my editor, I tried something out of my comfort zone. I’ve written first person past tense before, but never present. But she wanted me to work on building the emotion in my novels, and first person present tense is a good way to do that. And apparently, it worked. I got a bunch of all caps  messages from her as she edited it. I loved the exercise, and so when I went to edit Moonlight and Macchaitos, I decided to write that book in first person present tense as well.

Now, don’t worry. I’m still going to keep the Elemental Shifter world in third person, as well as the In Blood series. But when I start my next series (not sure what that is yet), I might try first person again.

Don’t live in the world of absolutes. You just might find yourself missing some awesome experiences.

 

 

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