So the thing about me is that when I find a new author I like, I read everything I can from that author. This happened to me recently because I borrowed a book from the library (ebook version, of course) by Diana Palmer. Because I have a thing for cowboys, I really enjoyed the book. So then I borrowed about seven more from her. By the time I was into the fifth one, I was pretty sure I’d read this book before. That’s when I realized that all her books follow the same formula. Young virginal woman + older man + tortured attraction + unrealistic characters who profess love in gorgeous prose = every Diana Palmer book. Ever.
The same can be said for Nicholas Sparks. I know he’s wildly popular but his books wouldn’t be his books unless someone dies at the end, bringing everything full circle and leading to the main character(s) having profound realizations.
What is it with these authors? Why do they publish the same book, over and over again? Why does the reader never seem to mind and just keep buying them? Is originality dead? I mean, Colleen Hoover runs circles around Diana Palmer – yet Hoover had to self-publish at first! As an aspiring author myself, I’m beginning to realize that there’s no rhyme or reason to getting published. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is proof of that. That series should’ve ended about ten books ago, yet it just keeps going and going and going. Stephanie’s car blows up + Grandma Mazur is funny + Lula makes fat jokes + Stephanie can’t decide between Joe or Ranger (the answer is ALWAYS Ranger, in case you were wondering) = every book in the stupid series.
The only thing I can surmise is that readers aren’t picky and that there’s no accounting for taste (or the lack thereof). 50 Shades of Grey is proof of this!
As I have stated in a previous entry, I’ve had a long-time ban on books written in first person POV (known as FPPOV for the rest of this entry). That ban ended, though, upon giving in and reading Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, because then I read Slammed and Point of Retreat. This past weekend, I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which is another book written in FPPOV, and also another book that had a gutting, heart-wrenching effect on me.
So all this crying I’ve been doing over these books lately – all written in FPPOV, no less – have me thinking: is FPPOV the new “thing” in popular fiction? Because all of these books that have knocked me to my knees with emotion are best sellers, and they’re all written in first person. Is that where it’s at now in the world of fiction?
I’m struggling to write my own book. Each and every sentence feels like a monumental task because I’m still trying to find my characters’ voices. The idea of just one voice, flowing so freely in “me” speak, is appealing. But I’m a third person kind of girl. I love third person. I’ve embraced it my entire writing life. Third person POV and the Oxford comma are my two favorite parts of the writing process. Can I write my story, and tell it as authentically as I want to, if I’m only inside one character’s head and only sharing her voice? One of the reasons I love writing romances is because I have two characters who are world apart at the beginning who have to find their way to a spot where their orbits intersect. If I’m only sharing one voice and one character’s thoughts, I can’t do that.
So what’s the answer – is FPPOV the way to go now? Do readers have a particular narrative that they prefer? Am I using this debate as just an excuse to put off writing even more? I need answers!