Writing in first person is very tricky. You have to do everything you normally have to do in other books like paint a picture of the world, flesh out characters, make a tension filled book, but you have to do all of that from a very limited perspective. You can’t bounce around from character or viewpoint. You’re stuck. Because of that, people seem to forget it’s harder to write in first person than they think it is.
In fact, my editor wanted me to completely rewrite my story in third person because of the above reasons. That was the biggest change she wanted. As much work as that would have been, I was tempted to. I would have been able to do some things I wanted to do. For example, I could have shown what was happening in Alexandria with Krystal and Premier. However, I stuck with my guns and kept it in first person.
When I first wrote Catalyst, I had to think about how I wanted to write it in. Second person was out because I really hate it. As confining as first person is, I chose it because I wanted to do something different, something I’ve never read before.
First person books aren’t new, but here’s the thing, I can’t think of any epic fantasy books written in that perspective. Does being in first person perspective automatically take the epicness out of a book? Does the fact that you can’t see the vastness of the world or the tumultuous times other characters are going through weaken it? Maybe.
I have no idea if my first book, Catalyst has that epic feel. It wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t nor would I expect it to. It’s just the first book and things aren’t ratcheted to the fullest. Catalyst is just an introduction to the world and while there are things at stake, the entire world’s not at stake.
I recently heard an interview with an editor saying that he’s heard many definitions of epic fantasy. He said they were all wrong and that there’s only one definition, “the entire world’s at stake.” I like that definition, mainly because it’s simple and gets right down to it.
I hope by the time I’m done with my Passage of Hellsfire series that people will feel that it’s epic. If they feel something else, that’s fine. I just hope my readers enjoy the ride, whatever it may be.