I was going through my author information packet, which was like a glorified interview, and I stumbled across an interesting question: What is your style of writing? I had no idea how to answer that. Should I put Faulkner? I did one of those writing things with When Stars Die and it claimed I write like Faulkner. It wasn’t until I looked it up did I have an answer: I am an emotional, expressive writer. That is my style.
I began to think even more on what it meant to be an emotional, expressive writer, and suddenly my freelance editor’s past advice sprang to mind: “This would read much better in first person present.” I kept wondering why third person didn’t work, and now I understand.
I am a very emotional writer. I am very sense oriented, especially when it comes to characters’ feelings. As you will derive from reading When Stars Die, I delve heavily into my characters feelings and how she feels about what is going on around her. First person makes sense for me because first person is a very personal narrative. In order to be very emotional and expressive, one has to step inside the character’s head in order to tap that emotional vulnerability. And my MC, Amelia, is very emotionally vulnerable. She’s as sensitive as I am, and so first person present works great for her.
I prefer writing in first person present above all else because not only does the present establish a sense of immediacy and urgency, but I have always loved writing with feelings in mind. My favorite books involve characters’ whose emotions are at the forefront of everything they do.
Gemma Doyle is my most favorite YA heroine and character ever. Libba Bray does an amazing job shaping her character through first person present. Gemma’s every action is heavily based on emotion, and so first person present fits with her so well. In fact, now that I think about it, a lot of the first person present books I have read are very emotion based.
I have no POV preferences for what I like to read, of course. I’ll read all POVs because every author has a different style. Not all authors write with emotions in mind. Some of them want more distance, which is where third person works perfectly. If the POV works, I will enjoy the book just as much as a first person present tense. I myself just prefer to write in first person present.