I have some trouble with these. They are usually in the third person, yet we know they have been written by the author. It feels a bit false to me, writing about yourself as if a third party is doing it,
Why is this a concern? I’m putting the finishing touches to a crime novel and realized my previous bio wouldn’t do. I have drafted a new one in the first person. Can I get away with this, or is the word on the literary street that I should convert to the third?
I have traveled through Afghanistan, made bubble gum in Philadelphia and published poetry, some of it anthologized. Several years ago I turned to fiction, finding it a natural fit for a comic sense of life. I live with my wife in a old farmhouse gradually being surrounded by developers who take no account of the needs of wildlife. Since that includes me, I’ve turned to crime.
Technology exists. Writing a novel without referring to it can be done but isn’t easy. I have just completed the first draft of a novel which could be classified as crime fiction and there was no evading it.
In those chapters involving mobile phones, computers, tracking devices and so on, I went into far too much detail. Why? I was making sure that what I was describing would work. For my own reassurance, I had to follow through on all the moves.
But technology in itself is tedious. (I have sometimes found this in novels by Patricia Cornwell and others.) The real interest in narrative fiction lies in what people do and why they do it. So now that I have begun revising, I find I am paring down technology references to the bare essentials to avoid falling into a deep sleep.
This may be what I should have done in the first place – it would have saved me a lot of work – but I had to know that what I was describing was possible and found an amazingly inefficient way to do it.
And what is true for technology may well be true of other areas as well – including the amount of detail devoted to post postmortems and the exact specifications of the handguns, rifles, bazookas and crossbows which caused the body to be on the slab in the first place.
So why do some authors do this? Not to reassure themselves but to convince the reader of their expertise. And also to give an authentic feel to the story – this is exactly the way it was. And if their readers like it, who could quarrel with that?
Heard on the radio this morning:
‘There has been a really significant sea-change in the landscape.’
The speaker was one Ron Ball, Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire.