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Monday, April 18, 2011


I finished my first person POV novel yesterday with it coming in at 97,000 words before editing. I had more trouble writing it than any other I’ve done. Sometimes, it was great. My main character’s thoughts and internal dialogue were fun to do, and the most laughs I had while writing. Telling the story from one point of view presents many problems. All info dumps, description, action, commentary, and hosts of other small details must be seen and described through the main character’s eyes. I have a new found respect for authors who write best sellers from the first person POV. Janet Evanovitch comes to mind. I don’t know that I’d ever do it again other than a short story.

I settled on ‘Hardcase’ for the title of my novel. It follows a character I debuted on my blog some time ago, who grew up mean, and ran away from his alcoholic father at the age of fourteen. He joins the Marine Corps from Texas under an assumed name. While in special ops overseas, he’s recruited by a CIA agent who sees something in John Harding besides his knack for languages and combat skill. Denny Strobert knows he’s found a killer.  The story begins in a back alley warehouse in East Oakland, where Harding fights for money, and to keep his skills honed, coupled with the fact he likes it. Harding does odd jobs with the only guy he trusts implicitly, his handler and manager, Tommy Sands. They bodyguard, escort tourists to the Bay Area, and do bail bond, skip trace work for a lawyer named Tess Connagher.

Two events throw Harding’s seamy life in the shadows out into the light. Strobert is ordered to enlist Tess Connaher’s law firm to act as an intermediary with Harding in order to protect an outspoken Afghani woman whose family Harding protected long ago. The woman’s father requested him, and the state department realizes they’ll be off the hook if anything happens to Samira Karim while under Harding’s care. Secondly, Harding fights a particularly brutal fight with a Russian mob backed fighter named Van Rankin who hates Harding. They’d had words. The YouTube video of Harding’s subsequent beat-down of Rankin goes viral along with many of his prior fights. When Rankin’s Russian mobster backer, Alexi Fiialkov pushes for a rematch on the UFC circuit, CIA Agent Strobert sees infinite possibilities since the United Arab Emirates purchase of partial control in the UFC. Some matches would be taking place in Dubai, where the CIA knows targets of opportunity show up from time to time.

Tess Connagher, both fascinated and repulsed by Harding, cannot stay away from him. She rapidly finds out Harding is not some East Oakland leg breaker, and being around him can be very dangerous whether you’re his friend or his enemy. She makes a couple errors in judgment. She thinks she can control him and she uses him to help her older sister, Lora.

Finishing the last line of the story yesterday was one of those moments where I forgot all about the multitude of POV problems and remembered why the hell I do this in the first place.  :)  


Charles Gramlich said...

I like first person for adventure novels, but if you've got a complex story it's really hard to get it all in. Congrats on finishing, man.

BernardL said...

I'm with you on that, Charles, which was why I tried it. As you say, very hard to get it all in. Thank you.

raine said...

Applause, Bernard! Don't think I could do a first person story that long.
And if you can get to the end & feel like it was all worth it--it is. :)

BernardL said...

Thanks, Raine. I think it was more like the old fable of the Mom seeing her little boy hitting himself in the head with a hammer and asking, 'why are you doing that?' The boy of course answers, 'because it feels so good when I stop'. :)