Showing posts with label john grisham. Show all posts
Showing posts with label john grisham. Show all posts

Friday, June 20

Book Talk: Shifting Point of View

Book Talk: Shifting Point of View

Last night I finished "The Testament" by John Grisham. 

Changing POV within a story

Interesting book. It opens with a first person, present tense, account that is intimate and shocking. The story is told by a ridiculously wealthy man, Mr. Phelan, who is at the end of his life. His one overriding goal is that his heirs not get hold of his millions. No, scratch that. Billions.
"Down to the last day, even the last hour now. I'm an old man, lonely and unloved, sick and hurting and tired of living. I am ready for the hereafter; it has to be better than this."
The first person account lasts for the first two chapters, after that Grisham shifts to third person past tense. He couldn't have continued to tell the story in first person perspective because (spoiler alert) Mr. Phelan--the POV character--commits suicide.
"[...] I rise from my wheelchair. My legs are shaking. My heart is pounding. Just seconds now. Surely I'll be dead before I land.

“Hey!” someone shouts, Snead I think. But I'm moving away from them."
Still, it's unusual, shifting both tense and POV two chapters into a book, but I think it worked. I don't see how the story could have been told more effectively another way. The storyteller needed to build up some sort of reader identification for Mr. Phelan and I think that was the best way of doing it. Also, it was interesting. How many times do billionaires about to commit suicide talk to us frankly, truthfully, about their lives, their loves, their regrets?

I think the odd shift in POV and tense was done because all through the book Mr. Phelan's negative points, his many failures as a father, his philandering, his cruelty, are the focus of discussion. But for the purposes of the story, it's important that we, the reader, want the billionaire's last wishes honored even though he was a less than stellar human being. If we don't care about that, we won't care about the story.

Did the shift in POV work?

What do you think? Regardless of whether you've read "The Testament," what do you think about switching from first person to third person, or vice versa? If you read "The Testament," do you think it worked? Was it effective? Necessary? Or would it have been better to have maintained a uniform POV throughout?

Tuesday, August 14

Forbes: The World's Highest Paid Authors

From The Guardian:
The world's highest-paid authors, according to Forbes:

1. James Patterson: $94 million
2. Stephen King: $39 million
3. Janet Evanovich: $33 million
4. John Grisham: $26 million
5. Jeff Kinney, $25 million
6. Bill O'Reilly: $24 million
7. Nora Roberts: $23 million
8. Danielle Steel: $23 million
9. Suzanne Collins: $20 million
10. Dean Koontz: $19 million
11. JK Rowling: $17 million
12. George RR Martin: $15 million
13. Stephenie Meyer: $14 million
14. Ken Follett: $14 million
15. Rick Riordan: $13 million
I could live with being number 16! :p

Read more here: Forbes richest authors list 2012: James Patterson takes the crown.

You might also like:
- 8 Ways To Become A Better Writer
- Indie Authors: Bad Sales? Redo Your Cover!

Photo credit: James Patterson

Thursday, August 18

Highest Paid Writers of 2011

The earnings below are from sales made between May 2010 and April 2011.

#1 James Patterson: 84 million
- Alex Cross series
- Maximum Ride series
- Many, many, others

#2 Danielle Steel: 35 million
- Jewels, The Ghost, Matters of the Heart

#3 Stephen King: 28 million
- The Shining, Salem's Lot, It

#4 Janet Evanovich: 22 million

- Stephanie Plum

#5 Stephenie Meyer: 21 million
- Twilight Series

#6 Rick Riordan: 21 million
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

#7 Dean Koontz: 19 million
- Demon Seed, Strangers

#8 John Grisham: 18 million
- The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Runaway Jury

#9 Jeff Kinney: 17 million
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid

#10 Nicholas Sparks: 16 million
- The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember

This information is based on these articles:
- Highest Paid Authors of 2011
- James Patterson brand makes him worlds best-paid writer
- James Patterson tops Forbes list of top-earning writers