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Hello Mr. Groner,
My writing of this upcoming book was complied in diary format. Since refining it, my husband and I are thinking of coauthoring since much of the content is about his experiences regarding our shipwreck that we have been recovering since 1987; some information goes further back in time. The problem I am facing is which voice to write in. It started out in my voice having interviewed my husband and continuing when I married him forward. Ideally I would like to have the first few chapters in my husbands first person voice giving all first hand accounts of the events as they happened in the early years, followed by a third person voice in a chapter telling the story of who he is, then a chapter where the story is told by myself, where I get involved and all the events that followed in our married-to-the-shipwreck life. Or... should I strictly write in first or third person? Kind regards,Yvonne

Thanks for your question, Yvonne.

The matter of voice is an issue that perplexes many new writers. Any voice is okay, as long as the reader knows who is speaking. A change in voice may occur in a new chapter or with line breaks in a current chapter.  

What you are asking is more like point of view, or POV. One way to tell the reader a new POV is present is to name the POV at the beginning of a chapter as a subtitle. Type the name of the POV and perhaps a time period at the left margin just before the new POV begins, such as: John Jones, 1957-1963. Another way is to use a byline, such as: By John Jones.

Within a chapter, a change in POV may be shown by inserting an extra line space before the new POV, by using * * * between POVs, or by inserting the new POV name in boldface at the left margin above the new POV.

A good way to learn about POV is to read a lot. You can also find instructions online by searching Point of View in your browser.

Let me know if I can be of further help.

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Wayne Groner


I can answer questions on all aspects of writing memoirs, biographies, family histories, and corporate histories including handling sensitive issues, interviewing, editing, self-publishing, and setting up a business as a memoir writer.


I have more than twenty-five years of experience as a radio and television news reporter, author, freelance writer, and workshop presenter. I present classes to nonprofits and professional groups, "How to Write Your Memoir or Life Story." I'm author of four nonfiction books. My latest book is A Guide to Writing Your Memoir or Life Story: Tools, Tips, Methods and Examples, available in paperback and eBook at Amazon. I'm past president of Springfield Writers' Guild (Missouri). My articles and book reviews on a variety of topics have been published in national magazines and on the Web. I was a senior-level college administrator for twenty-seven years, including nine years as a vice president, during which I wrote newsletters, brochures, magazine articles, and published and edited an alumni magazine.

Missouri Center for the Book, Springfield Writers' Guild, Greene County Historical Society, Christian County Historical Society.

Books: Witnesses of Hope, Faith, Love and Healing; Dumb Luck or Divine Guidance; The Pastor's Guide to Fund-raising Success; Levell-Drew Family History. National magazines including CASE Currents, Congregations, Ozarks Mountaineer, Your Community Hospice, Power and Light series of Sunday-school curriculum for adult learners.

Graceland College

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