Here’s some of my photo inspiration for the Shallow Sea book that I’m rewriting.

Originally I had three first person VPs, but my ROR colleagues felt they weren’t differentiated enough. The reason I’d used first person was because I had invented a person called a Twisted, who was small and genderless. I wanted to tell one of the narrative threads from this Twisted’s VP. This meant I had the problem of finding a non-gender specific pronoun, or writing those scenes from first person.

Inventing a non-gender specific pronoun is a very SF thing to do and I’ve read several short stories and books where the author has done this. I’ve never found it very successful, because every time I come across the invented word it throws me out of the story. This doesn’t happen with invented nouns, but for some reason the invented pronoun jarrs, at least it does for me.

So I’ve compromised and left the Twisted scenes in first person, while rewriting the other two narrative threads in deep third person. Note, I’ve said ‘deep’ third person. I want to immerse the reader in the character and their struggles so they will identify and empathise with them. Even though I’ve gone from first person to deep third person, it’s surprising how many subtle changes this makes to the narrative.

I think it is working really well. I know I’ve come across other books where some of the narratives threads are first person and some are third person. I found once I was immersed in the story it didn’t worry me.

How do others feel about it?


  1. >I enjoyed Lian Hearn’s Otori stories very much and they’re in a mixed 1st/3rd. I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with the idea, too.

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