I love the story of “So Many Books”, but in some ways the telling of it was experimental. As I mentioned in my last blog, it came from a dream. As I first started telling the story, I was telling it strictly from the perspective of my dream. First person.
But then, as I really began to delve into the story, I really wanted to know the story of the other principle character. How she felt, what she thought, etc. But when you’re telling a story in first person, you can only guess at what the other characters are thinkings.
So I experimented for a while with telling it in third person, but it just didn’t have the intimacy or immediacy of the first person telling. Then, it occurred to me to tell the story in first person, from the perspective of both people. The result is that Chris Farmer tells the story for a while, then Alyste will take the reins, then back to Chris, and so on. Sometimes, their stories overlap and are very similar, but sometimes they’ll both recall the same event but tell it in different ways.
I know that sounds contradictory, but in writing this book I was trying to listen to people, especially husbands and wives. I have come to love hearing two people tell about an event–a camping trip, for instance–but what each remembers about it and found significant is different. Neither is lying, but what was important or eye-catching to him isn’t what sticks in her mind.