Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Upside Of Writing In First Person

Becoming Lady Amherst is written in first person point of view. All of my other published books (I have another first person POV story that hasn't been published yet) are written in third person.

Writing in first person is sort of fun because you feel more like you are telling a story to a friend.

A cool breeze blew across the slit of my pantalets. I inhaled sharply in response to my exposure to the night air, as well as a stranger, in such a manner. His hand cracked down on my barely covered backside. I gasped with the impact.

“I bet that did not feel like a spanking from an old lady.” The cocksure gentleman adjusted my torso for a better angle and landed another swat on my bottom.

“I do not know what you people here call a spanking, but my grandmother spanks harder than that.”

Why could I never learn my lesson?

I think it also helps the reader to identify (and hopefully like) the heroine (or the point of view character). 

There's also the question of the reliability of the person telling the story. 
I straightened my skirts and patted my hair in preparation for my new dance partner. The bully was gone, along with my thoughts of him.

As we approached the dance floor, the bitter widow squinted at my coiffure and tsked in dismay. “Honestly, Sarah, how did you manage to get your hair into such a frazzle already?”

There was no way to explain to her how hanging upside down over a man’s knee made it challenging to maintain one’s hairstyle, so I was grateful when she took her attention away from me to focus it on our hostess, Lady Waterford who presented my next partner.

Notice the word "bitter" describing Mrs. White (Sarah's nemesis). An editor highlighted that word and said "We don't have any proof that she's bitter." 

I thought about the comment a bit and decided to leave the word in. Whether there is proof that she's bitter or not, Sarah, the storyteller, believes she is and that's what matters. 

How do you feel about stories written in first person? 

Becoming Lady Amherst Blurb: 
When Miss Sarah McLean causes a scandal in Boston, her father takes her to London in search of a husband.

At her first party, Sarah insults Lord Amherst who takes her over his knee to spank some manners into her. When this spanking come to light, Sarah's father offers him a choice: Marry Sarah or send her back to America where she has no prospects for a husband.

Intrigued by the spirited Yankee Girl, Lord Amherst proposes.

Despite the circumstances of their marriage, Sarah and Jeffrey form a bond and appear headed for a bright future.

That is, until Sarah pretends to be someone she's not.

Note: This books contains spanking, domestic discipline, and graphic sex.

Get your copy: 


  1. Interesting topic and question Celeste. Sometimes it takes me a little while to adjust to the first person, only because most books I read are written in third person. Having said that however, I do identify with, and become involved with the character more quickly.


    1. Thanks Roz. It is not so common for books to be in first person. But it's fun to switch things up a bit every now and then.

  2. I'm going to have to get this one, I see. I used to write in 1st person all the time. In fact I have an early trilogy of sorts written in this pseudo-autobiographical style. It works when your point of view is a major facet of the story. The old hard boiled detective novels used the private I's POV which brought with it his wry observations of the culture of criminals and cops, dames and broads, shysters and crooked judges, etc. And that's when it's useful, I think, when the speaker has something to say about the times in which he/she finds herself. It's also useful to identify the main character in a more vivid way, revealing both strengths and flaws, in a way the reader can readily identify with. I don't see it a lot any more and that's one reason I want to get this book.

    1. Thanks Rollin! You're right about the detective stories. I love reading those in first person. It does make you feel like you're right in the middle of the story. Sometimes w/first person there's a secret the pov character isn't sharing or we're seeing their perspective but it's not necessarily accurate.

  3. First person writing is useful because the limited viewpoint gives the writer more opportunity to surprise the reader and to withhold information, exactly as would be the case in real life.

    1. Yes! I sort of wish I had withheld more information in this story just because it's fun to surprise the readers. Maybe next time.

  4. You know all of Cassie is first person - it's just the way I began writing and it's always seemed natural and 'right' for me. I so enjoyed Becoming Lady Amherst, and it seemed natural.

  5. I enjoyed Becoming Lady Amherst. And I think the title fits really well. What I like about first person is that it allows an author to delve into one person's point of view deeply. As one is writing one becomes the character. But as you say in the follow-up post, it is MORE difficult to develop the other characters because you can't know what he/she is thinking or feeling. You have only the character's reactions to demonstrate motivation. You did that well. I could tell how much Lord Amherst cared for Sarah. As with all your books, I enjoyed the humor.

    1. Thanks, Cara! Remember way back in September when I sent you the first few hundred words and asked if you thought it worked? Thanks for your help!

  6. Thanks, PK. Cassie is excellent in first person. Are you planning to write any non-Cassie stories and if so, will they be in first person too?


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