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Hello Vincent,
I have a degree in Marketing and probably have no business writing a book.  I am constantly reading fiction novels.  I thought to myself I could do this!  I have started writing a book about my life.  Basically how my husband and I met and fell in love.  I have changed the names of people including my husband and I.  I let my husband read it and he said that he didn't think me writing in 1st person and in 3rd person is the correct way to write.  I am narrating the story and then I am writing in 3rd person when it comes to conversations.  Is this okay?

I have attempted to make my opening paragraph a catchy one because that is how I decide if I am going to begin to read a book.  Is this okay?

Lastly, since this is a book about my life, can I have landmarks, names of businesses, etc?

For shame, Diane!  One's degree has no bearing whatsoever on whether one should or should not have "business writing a book."  I, myself, have a degree in English.  DESPITE THAT, I think I can write a book.

As for the 1st/3rd person... I'm gonna side with the hubby.  Remember that the "voice" of a story (no matter which "person" it's told in) is, effectively, a character, too.  So if you're switching between 1st & 3rd, your reader is going to think either that you have two narrators or just one that's schizo.  Pick one and stay with it.

Certainly, the opening must hook the reader.  While the average reader will give a book several pages, if not a few chapters, before deciding the book is crap, an agent or publisher will not be so generous.  If you're really lucky, they'll give you a full page.  More likely, a paragraph or two.  Often, a few sentences.  

Landmarks are no problem.  Neither are businesses, so long as you're not disparaging them.  Saying you worked at IBM, for example, is perfectly fine.  Saying you worked at IBM and hated the damned place is also fine.  Saying you worked at IBM and they're a bunch of lying sacks of crap who ripped you off of your final paycheck... that's not fine.  Rule of thumb: write whatever you want, but if it's something that will obviously piss off someone or some company... you might wanna rephrase.

Hope this helps.  And best of luck!

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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