So I posted a comment on a blog post about 1st vs 3rd person here: http://sirlancesays.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/first-person-narrator-or-third-which-works-better/
And I got a response asking me about the kinds of stories I write in first person. Well, I thought ‘why not write a post about it?’ and the answer to that was ‘because no one cares enough to read more than a few sentences on the subject’, and so I said ‘well, obviously they do, because people are reading my blog just for this kind of thing’ and the answer to that was ‘who the hell are you talking to anyway?’
At which point I decided to go ahead with the post.
As you may know from the excerpts I’ve posted, ‘Rooks’ is written in 3rd person in multiple points of view, but of the five books I have on the go it’s the only one to be done in 3rd. It was also the only one where I thought of a premise before I thought of a main character.
As for my other magnum opuses, ‘518’, ‘Evo’, ‘Dolorelamia’ and that blasted untitled thing, they all came to existence in roughly the same way. I was bored with a certain trope, and wanted to see it turned around, but not in a parody fashion. For the purposes of this post I’ll stick with ‘518’ and ‘Dolorelamia’, there’s more written of them.
‘Dolorelamia’ is my answer to the ‘Roaring Rampage of Revenge’ and in part to the ‘Noble Assassin’ as well. I was bored, frankly, by the number of plots wherein the hero’s parents, or wife, or both are brutally slaughtered, and they go on a quest for revenge against the Dark Lord, Mob Boss, Corrupt Corporate Executive, or Garden Variety Psychopath, turning in their badge to Da Chief on the way out. These were mostly bland action movies where I found the villain a lot more compelling than the hero.
And then there’s the Noble Assassin, who only ever assassinates bad people. Or at least not women and children. They really annoy me too, and maybe you can’t have a likeable main character who also kills children (hey, it worked for Richard III, and if Shakespeare can do it…!), but I’ve tried it out anyway with Elliet Regan, constantly hunted by Jared Simnel, only survivor of a massacre he perpetrated, set in a Steampunk Alternate Universe of Doom.
The actual book is about them having to work together when the entire country is attacked by unknown assailants, and people close to both of them are kidnapped, but it’s all 1st person from Elliet’s point of view, giving us exchanges such as this:
Kitora was still unconscious, but Jared was propped up on one elbow looking at us in confusion. It was strange that I was less wary of him than I was of Kitora when it was with him that the bad history lay, but he had always seemed more reasonable than his Helltrashin follower. His own weapon was lying on the other side of the campsite from when Heron had tried to use it, and he had taken Kitora’s other dagger in hand. However, I was quite sure he wouldn’t attack me just yet.
“That was a good throw, Jared,” I told him.
His eyes narrowed. “I was aiming for you,” he replied.
Yes, well, scratch my previous surety—my eyes went directly back to my own blade which was lying but a few paces away.
I paused again. “Then again, what do I know?”
“More than you’re saying, I’d warrant,” Jared replied, using a scathing tone, but at the same time seeming to relax somewhat since he’d first seen me. I just rolled my eyes because in this instance I actually had said all I knew. “Is there a reason you’re still here?” he asked.
“Safety in numbers,” I said with a shrug. He snorted, but surprisingly enough Heron leapt to my defence.
“You and Kitora can’t be moved for a while yet,” she said, “and Radioret’s broken his leg.” She appeared to be struggling to find the right words. “I mean… I know that you and… I know that he’s not… what I mean is that I figured, well, if he was going to kill us he’d have done it already, and if he wasn’t going to kill us then we were safer with him around, right Radioret?” She turned her wide blue gaze towards him.
“Much as I hate to admit it,” he said with a nod, “he is the only able-bodied fighter here.”
Jared took all this in, and he stared at me almost without blinking. I could only imagine what was going through his mind, taking into account our history together. Actually, no, I couldn’t imagine it—what he said was a complete shock to me.
“Regan,” he said, his voice croaking and sounding thirty years too old for him. I didn’t answer but I looked him in the eye to let him know I was listening and then glanced away again. “I can’t make some ridiculous threat of reprisal should you decide to kill me and my friends after all. I’ve had fifteen years to pay back to reprisals I already owe you and I haven’t yet.” He took a deep breath. “So I’m just going to have to resort to begging.”
I couldn’t look at him at all now. “You don’t have to beg, Jared,” I muttered. “I don’t kill people unless I’m being paid.”
“Oh?” he asked. “Then how much… never mind. I don’t want to know.”
And I didn’t want to know what he had been about to ask me, mostly because I already had a pretty good idea as to what it might have been, and I didn’t want to give him an answer to that.
‘518’, surprise, surprise, was all about another type of villain. The Traitor. (What can I say? I love villains!) The protagonist of that story, Ira McKentish, is not as villainous as Elliet, but he did betray the entire human race… because I was bored again. Bored of humans always winning and casting out the alien invaders. Bored of the Heroes of the Resistance. I wanted to sell those bastards out, Mwahahahahaha!
But Ira is going to be the one to do it for me, and it won’t be for a stupid reason like being tired of the good guys always winning. Nor will it be for personal gain (though it may appear that way at points in the book). Nor will it be because he hated the human race for all our many failings (though it may appear that way at times as well—but I hate that trope too, so no worries there). You’ll understand his actual reasons when he tells you himself.
So, my first persons are also villainous persons. I guess I wanted to take a deeper look into what might be going through their minds. Indeed, even ‘Rooks’, in having so many POVs gives us a look at the ‘villains’, if anyone can really be called a villain in ‘Rooks’. But that was written to combat a trope as well, because I was bored with the Evil Fascist Dictatorship, dictating not for any logical reason, but because they were EVIL, and wanted to make the populace miserable. And a fascist dictatorship is a system, not a character, so it cannot tell its own story.
To find out why Ira betrays Earth, one will need to read the book, which means I’ll need to write it, so I’ll get back to that and leave you with the promise of an origin story for ‘Evo’ and the Untitled Thing tomorrow, and a miniature excerpt from ‘518’ today for your enjoyment.
Anyway, I found Google and stared at the screen for a while. The logo had been modernised since I’d last seen it, but I thought it was roughly the same layout as it had had in the past, and I felt a wave of nostalgia. Then I took a deep breath and pecked at the letter ‘i’. The very first thing to be suggested in the search-bar was ‘ira mckentish’.
Wow. I was famous.
That was when I could feel my pulse getting quicker, which was stupid, because what was the worst that could happen? I was thousands of light-years away from Earth and humanity. Taking a deep breath, I continued to type the rest of my name so I could get the whole terrible ordeal that I was choosing to put myself through of my own free will over with.
What was suggested after that was illuminating.
‘ira mckentish traitor
ira mckentish is evil
ira mckentish irascariot
ira mckentish nazi
ira mckentish fans should die
ira mckentish facebook
ira mckentish man who sold the world’