That Is One Fact of Her Life

I started reading a new book this week.

(drum roll, please)
. : Now You See Her by Whitney Otto : .

I was drawn to this book for two reasons: I adore Whitney Otto for having written my favorite novel, How to Make an American Quilt, and I like the title.  Now you see her, now you don't.  Brings to mind nursery rhymes and magic acts and the idea that there may be a surprise ending.

The first line wasn't too shabby either: In the weeks preceding her fortieth birthday Kiki Shaw made the uncomfortable discovery that she was disappearing.  That is one fact of her life.

Source: Joseph's Moleskine Art - amazing, isn't it?  Now if you can ignore the fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with my post, we're all set.

Truth be told, I don't often read novels written in third-person omniscient.  I prefer first-person narratives because the characters tend to make deeply personal discoveries that I can then relate to myself.  That being said, third-person point of view is growing on me.  You'll notice I tend to write most of my shorts this way.

Despite being less personal and somewhat documentary-ish in style, third-person often gives the impression that the author is having a private joke.  Take this line, for instance:

These pieces of truth and detail did not add up to a great and deep education, no, they could only provide [Kiki] with a vast, far-reaching yet shallow knowledge of things . . . She could not determine if this constituted any sort of education, or knowledge, at all.

This makes me think that Otto must know the truth concerning Kiki's education, and how silly of Kiki to not know.  Then again, perhaps Otto doesn't know and is asking the question for herself.

Which is why third-person point of view is so much fun to write.

You can use facts about yourself without worrying too much that other people will equate these facts to you personally.

You are under cover as Kiki Shaw, fact researcher for a TV game show filmed in Los Angeles.

For example:

She always wanted to watch scary movies, but then she knew she would not sleep.  And she liked her sleep.


She was OCD about the way in which her house was organized, a fact which often annoyed other people.  Truth be told, it annoyed even her.  She did not like it that she had to vacuum the floor daily.


Or you can combine fact with fiction (and still call the whole thing fiction):

She lived in a one-bedroom cabin in the boonies, and did not own a vehicle because hers was recently occupied by a tree during a thunderstorm.  She didn't mind, however, because she was secretly a millionaire and would soon own a Lamborghini.

(Part of this is true about me.  I'll let you decipher which half.)

So you see?  The reader can assume he knows the author a little better, but he can never be too sure.  Although I am of the opinion that there is much more truth in fiction than anyone would ever care to admit, it is nice to have the option of hiding behind a pseudo-reality.

. . . All that to say, I'm enjoying this novel thus far.  It reminds me of the movie Stranger Than Fiction.

. . . This is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words


  1. I really like Stranger Than Fiction - I was actually just reading your excerpts from the novel and thought "Sounds like Stranger Than Fiction" - then you said the same thing. Odd. : )

  2. I tend to read more books in the first person POV for the very same reason. I think that's also why I write that way. I like knowing what is going on in their heads. I'm nosey like that.


  3. Interesting...I think I end up reading more books in the third person omniscient than otherwise. I'll have to check this book out!

  4. I always thought it took a lot more stamina as a writer to write in third person omniscient. It seems like you would have to develop a very strong, almost intimate relationship with your character in order to pull it off well.

    That said, it sounds like this author has succeeded! I'll definitely have to check out this novel! I have been rooting around for something new to read. :)

  5. this was so captivating. your writing style and sense of humor always draws me in.


( hippies always welcome )