The problem with writing a novel from first-person perspective is that it’s safe to guess that the point-of-view character is not going to die. And when it’s written in present tense, you can be certain of it — there’s no plausible literary device by which they can recount events after the fact, and it’s stretching belief to have them leave behind a journal which abruptly terminates in an agonized “AAARRGGGGHHH!”
This undercuts suspense by lowering the stakes in any trouble they happen to get into. The challenge then becomes, like a Bond movie, to provide enough action to be entertaining despite the knowledge that the character can never truly be in mortal danger. Which, of course, Hunger Games does.
He paused, then added simply, “You’re quiet today.”
“Am I?” she asked coolly as she pulled on her immersion goggles and rings. You’re part of it. Margolis said so herself. I know you’re hiding something. That’s why none of the Green’s survey data from the past two years is available.
“Yes, you are,” he replied, noting the tone in her voice with a slight narrowing of his eyes. “But, if you don’t want to talk to me, well, that’s okay. We can talk again when you’re in a better mood.”
She yanked off her goggles and turned to face him. “What makes you think I’m in a bad mood?”
He shrugged. “Your…moodiness?”
“What? Oh. Well, maybe I am mad. Shouldn’t I be? I know you’re hiding something…” She stopped short when she saw his face suddenly become an expressionless mask.
There was an uncomfortable pause. “Hiding?” he asked cautiously. “What is it you think I am hiding?”
His dark eyes bored into her own. “Go on.”
Me and my big mouth. “The, uh, the cavern…” If possible, his face became even more expressionless when she mentioned the cavern.
“The cavern? What is it you think I am hiding about a cavern?”
Think fast. “I, uh, I know you’re hiding something down there. There’s… something down there, isn’t there? That’s why Grantham won’t let anyone go in?”
“Oh, that again.” Rana pursed his lips and rolled his eyes. The tension between them seemed to evaporate suddenly. A little too suddenly, perhaps.
What could he be hiding? And how did he really break his nose?