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Favorite Authors/Books/Series > The Dexter series, Jeff Lindsay

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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 209 comments Is anyone reading the Dexter books bothered by Lindsay's manipulation of the first person narrative?
I'm reading Dexter Is Delicious but I've read a couple of the earlier ones. Just using this example.

Dexter tells the story from the perspective of the character relating a history (I drove). Then, when Dex and the Dark Passenger go after Victor Chapin, the style changes briefly to We (we drive) and then to the singular (I drive, I strangle, I stab). Then it goes back to the narrative. This starts on page 179 of the Doubleday hardback.

The reason I ask is, in my current book (cop thriller), I use the first person narrative for most of the story. Then, like Lindsay I changed to the present tense for the 'action' scenes. I did this intentionally because I feel it brings the reader into the story, makes them a participant. Both the copyeditors I ran some samples by nearly had apoplectic fits for abusing the point of view with so little disregard.

Did it bother anyone or did anyone even notice the change?


message 2: by C. (new)

C. Stepp | 36 comments Ken wrote "Is anyone reading the Dexter books bothered by Lindsay's manipulation of the first person narrative?
I'm reading Dexter Is Delicious but I've read a couple of the earlier ones. Just using this example."

I haven't read the book. I did write two books featuring private investigator Hitchcock Brown. Both books are written in first person from the perspective of Brown. I did this so the reader would be limited to the information that the main character had as the story progressed.

I was able to use Brown's personal musings to provide insight into the story as he worked things out in his own mind. It was a little more tricky to use this device to provide foreshadowing. The overall effect is that the reader ends up "guessing" at possibilities along with the narrator. For the most part, I used present tense. I allowed the narrator to describe past events by having him introduce them as things that had happened previously.

I would be hesitant to mix tenses or points of view. It confuses the reader and makes the story harder to understand. This is a personal preference, so I don't want to discourage you from a writing style that may work for you or your story. The technique I used was to have my narrator describe recent events near the beginning of the story and then have him gradually close the time gap so at the climax, things were happening in real time. I think it accomplished the goal of building the tension and dragging the reader into the action.


message 3: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 286 comments Ken,

I think in Lindsay's case, this change in perspective worked well, especially given the aspect of the "Dark Passenger". As far as your own writing is concerned, perhaps you should have some readers, preferably non-editors, read these sections. It may be very helpful to see how a casual reader responds to these changes.


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken Consaul | 209 comments I'm thinking the average reader barely noticed the switch in Lindsay's work. It may have been providential I picked up the book because of the decisions I have to make. That may be the only reason I noticed at all. Even in the Dark Passenger scenes he doesn't stay with 'we' throughout.

After my books get turned into smash TV series, I can go all Cormac McCarthy on the English language, not before.


message 5: by Ethan (new)

Ethan | 286 comments Ken wrote: "I'm thinking the average reader barely noticed the switch in Lindsay's work. It may have been providential I picked up the book because of the decisions I have to make. That may be the only reaso..."

Haha love the enthusiasm but please use quotation marks!


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